New Delhi: The death of the legendary painter MF Husain, would have struck a deep blow to the art fraternity. Credited with several accolades during his lifetime, including the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the artist was also mired in several controversies throughout his career.
His depiction of nude Hindu deities or Hindu Gods in sexual union did not go down well with several Hindu religious leaders. These leaders were particularly incensed because the country is often looked up to as ‘Bharat Mata’ or Mother India.
The idea of the country as sacred has been reiterated time and again and often is a recurring motif in Indian literature.
The main contention of Hindu religious leaders is that Husain treated Hindu religion in a deprecatory manner. But Husain had always maintained that freedom of expression was a right of the artist and that artists could express their emotions only through their works of art.
According to media reports, Muslim groups had alleged that the film, ‘Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities’, had an objectionable song called ‘Noor-Un-Ala-Noor’ which they believed contained words that had been directly lifted from the Quran.
There were also protests against some of Husain’s paintings that portrayed forms of sexual union with animals because this was seen as pornographic.
In the February 6, 2006 issue of India Today, an advertisement titled “Art for Mission Kashmir” was published that contained a nude picture of a woman spread across the map of India. Organisations such as the Hindu Jagruti Samiti and the Vishva Hindu Parishad protested against this work of art till Husain promised to withdraw the painting from an auction.
Later, however, Husain put up the painting on his own website. But because of the protests of various right-wing groups, Husain was compelled to leave the country in self-exile and temporarily relocate to London. During this period, he shuttled between Dubai and London.