Doha: MF Husain has formally given up his Indian citizenship. The painter has handed over his Indian passport to the Indian embassy in Doha. This was confirmed by the Indian ambassador Deepa Wadhwa.
Husain has accepted Qatari citizenship after it was offered to him. Husain has been in self imposed exile since Hindu groups targeted him for painting goddesses in the nude. The 95-year-old painter has for years now been shuttling between Dubai and London.
He said that notwithstanding his decision to move out of his homeland, India permeated every part of his father's consciousness. "My father is too strongly rooted to India. You can take him to any part of the world, but he would still remain an Indian personified."
Owais Husain said the painter's early years, when he lost his mother followed by his migration to Mumbai, had significantly shaped his artistic and political consciousness. "For some time my father virtually lived on the steps of the Vithobha temple in Pandharpur, the place of his birth. Later he moved to Mumbai, during a time when the political atmosphere around him was also surcharged on account of the freedom struggle. I think these experiences influenced his mental make-up and impacted his innate sense of secularism."
Asked how exile and the unhappy events surrounding his exit from India had affected Husain, Owais Husain said that it generated in his father, an extraordinary torrent of creativity.
A man who expressed himself more through brush, paint and canvas, rather than the spoken word, he has painted a riot of images during this phase. Husain has been prolific in painting images out of the Ramayana, and is involved in painting 100 images on the history of India.
"I suppose this happens when trauma of exile blocks some part of your senses, but energetically opens out other creative senses."