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I am a citizen of the world, says MF Husain

CNN-IBN
Mar 26, 2010 at 05:57pm IST

Dubai: Renowned painter MF Husain says Indian politicians must learn to understand and appreciate culture in a nation's identity.

In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN after becoming the citizen of Qatar, Husain said that security does not mean a thing as even former prime ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi could not be saved in spite of the heavy security they enjoyed.

ALSO SEE India loses Husain, its most celebrated artist

"In spite of all the security, what's the point of security? Did Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have less security? Somebody wants to play a mischief, he can do it," said Husain.

INDIAN NO MORE: MF Husain accepted the citizenship of Qatar a few days back.

"I just wanted to... I am a citizen of the world. Especially an artist, his language is visual. If you are a writer in China you have to be in China, because of Chinese language, or any other thing. Visual art is the only universal thing," said the 95-year-old painter who accepted the citizenship of Qatar a few days ago.

"If you want to run a country politics is essential. It is not that it is of no use. But the politician also must be aware that what is culture because any nation's identity is through culture, not how much economy or political power you have. They get wiped out in the history. All big civilisations get wiped out. What has remained is culture - artifacts found, you see how age old people used to live and what is the manner. Through that you study that time's culture, not through what the Constitution was. Constitution is just a piece of paper," he said.

Husain said that he will move to any place in the world where he is assured security. He also alleged that the Indian Government is not telling the whole truth when they claim that all cases against him have been withdrawn.

"I am a free country, I can move anywhere. Wherever there is appreciation I will go - 100 per cent sure. But there should be security, safety not that, you can't ask me to go into fire and prove your point," he said.

"You are so naive, you know the politics that is going on. It's very naive; you don't know what it is. That's what I say. Don't go by what these media people what they write. There is a police enquiry from the Government of India and they can arrest me anytime, they have not withdrawn that," he said.

Husain said that he was a keen follower of religion and expressed anguish at the fact that a few people managed to create nuisance around his paintings.

"I studied the Gita and all of that because I was born in Pandharpur. I had a friend who was a Brahmin. Right from the beginning I was interested in philosophy and different religions. So I studied all those - Christianity, Islam, Judaism. So about 20 years back I did paintings on nine religions, which were shown in UN and all that, and these narrow minded people - what can you do. A few people, it is only few people who can spoil the broth," he added.

The 95-year-old was forced to leave India in 2006 as he has been the target of right-wing groups for his nude painting of Hindu Goddesses and has been lacking government backing.

Since then he has been living in Dubai and London.

Controversies surrounding Husain:

  • 1996: Paintings of nude deities creates controversy. He had created these paintings in the 1970s.
  • 1996: Hindi magazine publishes article on Husain calling him "painter or butcher".
  • Eight criminal complaints filed against Husain following the article.
  • 1998: Husain's house attacked by Bajrang Dal. Shiv Sena endorses attack.
  • 1999: London exhibition cancelled after controversy gains steam in India.
  • 2006: Charged with hurting sentiments of people because of nude portraits of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
  • 2006: Non-bailable arrest warrant issued.

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