M. F. Husain: An Artist Denied

Mother India: M.F. Husain
I'm no artist. In fact, I really admire those who can draw, paint, design and so on. Admiration for the artsy ones, is definitely one trait I own. I dream of my own home with white walls and fancy expensive paintings which requires you to ponder over what it could possibly be. That is the real beauty of any piece of art. So it really bought tears to my eyes when the absolutely amazing Maqbool Fida Husain passed last week. What a life, the man had led. It wasn't his paintings which were mashallah phenomenal in depiction and execution, which kept him in the limelight but also his incredible indifference towards religion and politics. He had no agenda but to be an artist and wanted freedom of art. However, this was not meant to be. He was ousted by Hindu religious groups when he painted a Goddess' Durga and Saraswati in the nude. Later on, his naked Mother India piece caused him to flee his home never to return as he knew he would be arrested. People close to the artist claim returning home to India is all he ever wanted. His self-imposed exile always made him feel lost claim many near and dear ones.

My question is simple: why was he criticized for his Mother India piece? I honestly believe that there are a number of reasons why the picture created such havoc in Husain's life. For starters, what does the painting depict? India exposed. And if you think about it, on a daily basis, we expose ourselves as a country that has potential to be a superpower but not quite. We have a corrupt split government, corruption out the wazoo, poverty and illiterate rates that cannot be controlled; are we not a naked country? Perhaps the piece was ahead of its time? In this day and age where India is hardly a prudish country, why is it we cannot open our eyes and accept a painting for the truth it is depicting. And we are the land of Kama Sutra! It isn't as though he has garishly depicted Mother India. Not at all. The painting shows a rather beautiful country that has been stripped naked by its people and politicians. So why again was he forced to leave his own land? Oh yes, because we cannot accept the truth.

It is rather upsetting to see an artist be denied freedom in his choice of work and passion. Every time he set out to achieve yet another artistic milestone, he faced roadblocks in the form of radical organizations who just could not see past their jaded veils. Strangely, after the man died, we all of a sudden find the need to see the good in a man who was all about greatness. Welcome to the well-known hypocritical India personality. He will be missed by people who understood him. And for those who didn't well, know this: Indian art will never be the same again.

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