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Jun 10, 2011
07:06 AM

PAISA BOLTA HAI-Time and again Husain hurt Hindu sentiments deliberately. He was a great artist no doubt but a personality however great cannot pay with people's sentments. I wonder whetehr all you artisitc sympathisers wuld have reacted had he drawn caricatures of his own religion???

If he ws really colurageous he should have done so and me the fate of teh Danish cartoonist and Salamn Rushdie wothout a doubt!

Art sells especially horeses and naked women! He was no patriot enjoying hospitality of the super rich-------------------------a thorough commericial mercenary ------------------forget all the shuddh shakahari all of them are money bags and money bags are not patriotic just god at making money.

PLease stop all this maudlin foolish sentimentality....................of COngress party variety to get Minority votes.Indian Minorities and Majority are not fanatics like  Congress Digvijay variety/RSS/religious fundamentalists and only interested in Roti,Kapda Aur Makaan. 


Singapore, Singapore
Jun 10, 2011
10:54 AM

Death Throes Of A Civilisation?

A newspaper opinion piece sometime back began with a rhetorical question about us: “Is India an ancient civilization on the cusp of modernity? Or is it actually a 3,500-year-old civilisation in an advanced state of decay? We believe it’s the former, and middle-class Indians [mistakenly] take pride in their belief that we are living in one of the world’s greatest cultures.”

But the real answer perhaps was playing out in a long-drawn, dramatic episode that began in the mid 1990s. Curtains fell on the final act yesterday.

Maqbool Fida Hussein, India’s most celebrated modern painter – venerable 95-year-old seeped in the syncretic culture of Pandharpur, Maharashtra, and soaked not just in the knowledge but also deep understanding of Hindu mythology and religious universe – died a Qatari citizen in London early Thursday morning.

His Qatari nationality was a mere immaterial technicality though. It is the putrid atmospherics, which led to his departure from his beloved motherland, that indicate a rot among an ancient people, whose new-found cultural and civilisational hubris hides the philistinism flourishing in a nation rapidly hurtling towards forced modernity.

A billion plus people could not conjure up the guts to stand up to that creeping crudity of our society and for a harassed artiste. A state married to the idea of ‘freedom of expression’ could not muster up the meager resources to ensure the safety of one of the most priced modern cultural symbols of the country.

A supposedly thriving breed of intelligentsia could not counter the fraudulent, silly and diabolical accusations against conventional notions of artistic grammar, ideation and execution by a handful of
people who never really understood art, let alone appreciate its social implications.

The bloodthirsty hoodlums who hounded him chose to not understand several of India’s ancient principles:

1. that religion is not stagnant;
2. that religious philosophy must compulsorily also accommodate profanity;
3. that gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon are mere signposts in the human being’s path to self-actualisation. They are not self-actualisation personified;
4. that art and literature are the spearheads that guide a society towards progress;
5. that free ideation and expression are the cornerstones of a healthy society;
6. that artistes are not supposed to think within the four-walls of social mores and norms;
7. that it is the artiste’s job to explore the outer realms of these very social norms.

Looking at it in another perspective, it is only fitting that Hussain abandoned India.

The original spirit of enquiry, openness of mind and veneration of new spiritual and social ideas that India was known for, have already shrunk to non-existence – or let’s say thrashed into non-existence.

So, Hussain’s artistic merit notwithstanding, the quintessential India that he long represented is already a thing of the past. There was no place for him in this land anymore.

And today, the high and mighty, including the Prime Minister of the country, are mouthing fervent platitudes in his remembrance. Sheesh!

“Yunaan-o-Misr-o-Roma, sab mitt gaye jahaan say/Ab tak magar hai baqi, naam-o-nishan hamara.”

We as a country and as a civilisation deserve to rot. We will.

Mumbai, India
Jun 10, 2011
11:36 AM

that religion is not stagnant "

Tell them who are stagnant .
Hinduism has travelled from Snatan to Arya Samaj

"that gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon are mere signposts in the human being’s path to self-actualisation " Harish

Will it be OK for you that nude paintings of your mother or daughte are displayed ? We Hindus treat Bharat Mata as Mother
What type of Art is this to paint nudes of Hindu Goddesses only and sparing his own Religion ? Fear of Fatwas and Death ? Sign of utter cowardliness ,He lived 95 yrs as he painted Hindu icons otherwise he would have been in grave long long time under the Fatwas .Forgotten Danish Cartoonist ?

Harish kindly spare us your half truths and half backed talks of "spirit of enquiry, openness of mind and veneration of new spiritual and social ideas '

"""that free idealization and expression are the cornerstones of a healthy society;""""

We reached those corner cum milestones  of a healthy society  in Ram Lila Maidan  with Lathis and Tear Gas Shels raining upon sleeping old ,women and chidren in dead of the night.

a k ghai
mumbai, India
Jun 10, 2011
12:15 PM

"Will it be OK for you that nude paintings of your mother or daughte are displayed ?"

--This question has been asked before. When I pointed this out to my mother, who has lived abroad for a long time, this was her reply:

"Myself being pulled in here and comparisons to Bharat Mata and Sita, I think comes out of either a very generous mindset or a very childish one, bent on winning an argument even with below the belt punches. Thank You as the honour of being compared to two great ideas is mine in any case.

I feel M F Hussein is an artist. Art must not be controlled. Artistes cannot -- rather must not, for civilisation's sake -- be politically correct. It is their job to test and experiment with the extremes of social mores and norms. This is what leads to a society becoming more open and honest with itself and moral hypocrisy being dropped.

As for me being a subject in a Hussein painting, that purely would be my decision as an individual. The resultant bouquets and brickbats too would be reserved for me. No one else is answerable.

I am surprised our people today are so insecure about religious affiliations. Being away from India for this long has surely put me away from a lot of unhappy developments. Sad for India. Sad for Hinduism, which I thought IS what the world WILL BE in future. However, the signs are discouraging."

Mumbai, India
Jun 10, 2011
12:46 PM

It is their job to test and experiment with the extremes of social mores and norms. This is what leads to a society becoming more open and honest with itself and moral hypocrisy being dropped. "

And only preferred to 'experiment with extremes ' with Hindu Goddesses not with his own Religion's .
Naturally questions will arise why this experiments with other man's beliefs.

"be OK for you that nude paintings of your mother or daughte are displayed ?" Ghai

--This question has been asked before. When I pointed this out to my mother, who has lived abroad for a long time "

With all respects and due regards for the departed soul still check with other members too,

My sincerest apology in advance And no personal insult meant .

"I am surprised our people today are so insecure about religious affiliations."

Yes what we saw in Ram Lila Maidan will even make mules insecure .People are insecure -yes and are  in no mood to listen to double talk any more.

Just to make it clear I am not safforonite but yes I don't want to give an inch to bogus Secularists .

a k ghai
mumbai, India
Jun 10, 2011
01:28 PM

I have watched with amazement the most beautiful art in the Sun temple at Konark and Kajuraho, which bear witness to Indian civilisation's candidness to sexuality.  However nowhere did I find goddess Lakshmi or Sita depicted the way MF did.  Why do Hindus get upset when overseas "art houses" make toilet seats with Ganeshas or Shivas on them?  Beacuse both insult us.  Just because hinduism is a liberal way of life, does not mean that others take untold liberties with it.  MF and his admirers may claim his genius was mistaken by "fundamentalists"; but yes, the so called fundamentalists are human too and they have a right to expression as much as MF had a right to his. 

Hyderabad, India
Jun 10, 2011
02:11 PM

>> Artistes cannot -- rather must not, for civilisation's sake -- be politically correct.

And this would be an acceptable position, as long as the crowd propounding it was consistent.

Husain himself never dared paint any pictures of the prophet. If I recall correctly, he made a picture of one lady of some importance in Islamic history, but drew it in a reverential way. Might be wrong about this though.

Whats InAName
San Francisco, United States
Jun 10, 2011
02:19 PM

When a Christian professor set a question paper,supposedly hurting to Muslims,his hand was chopped off.The secularists took it as the birthright of Muslims.But,just a few protests by Hindu organisations against Hussain for his deliberate acts of hurting to Hindu sentiments has taken the centre stage at his death.

Bangalore, India
Jun 10, 2011
05:00 PM

I don't know much about art. Right here a blogger posted a longish post which says that it needs a special sort of skill to appreciate art-work of Husain & the likes of him. Not being one of them nor an arty sort of bloke, I do not propose to comment on 'India's Picasso' as he is being projected in foreign media & true to form, Indian media picked up from there. Nor would I like  at this late stage to try to take a lesson in understanding M.F.Husain. Some of is art-works are being shown in the media & the net, having seen some them, I have come to the conclusion  that I do not have any use for them.

But then there is saturation coverage in Indian media of Husain dead at 95, one is tempted to make few comments from whatever one learnt on & off about M. F.Husain from newspapers.

> He had a knack for hogging the media for all the wrong reasons.

> Considering that Indian roads not being bed of roses, he should have gone about supping at top of the line restaurants at Bombay at least wearing a pair of bathroom slippers.

> It is in the genius of Husain that his voluntary residence in London could be turned in to a hype that he was hounded out.

> It is again in the genius of the man that his voluntary taking up citizenship of most egalitarian society on the earth which is Qatar could be turned in to kind of martyrdom.

> It is not true that Gajagaminis are all about backside of elephants at play. Those who are connoisseurs will tell you it is art of Van Gogh proportions.  

> If he is only 'India's Picasso', one can be sure that he is no Picasso.

> Finally may he go to the heavens & remain in eternal company of the beautiful damsels to the eternal envy of those who did not made it.


Jun 10, 2011
06:19 PM

Hussain was a huge fraud. How is it that he painted only Hindu dieties naked ? If he had done the same for Muslims, I would give him full marks. But then would he have lived this long? His clients were obviously the CHORS who had stashed away black money. Good guys go to heaven. Bad guys go to Pattaya. Hussain will be in Pattaya soon.

Cream Pie
New Delhi, India
Jun 10, 2011
06:54 PM

"Some of is art-works are being shown in the media & the net, having seen some them, I have come to the conclusion that I do not have any use for them." - Manish

You said a thousand words in a single polite sentence. Superlike!!!!

Hussain indeed had the talent and skills to rise far above the role of a poster painter. Nobody can deny that. What is also difficult to deny is his tendency to hog limelight and controversies. Its difficult to judge if some of those paintings were a result of his bigoted notions or just a mechanism to extend his networth.

The Irreverent Indian
Online, India
Jun 10, 2011
07:50 PM

///1. that religion is not stagnant;///

You are one of those intellectual fools or behind a hindu name talking all these nonsense against other religion. So try your intellect and find out why we people respect 'KABIR'. If you don't get answer then go to hell.

dinesh chauksey
bhopal, India
Jun 10, 2011
09:28 PM
Dallas, United States
Jun 10, 2011
10:32 PM

Ram, we have the freedom of expression in India. If you feel hurt by what someone else does or says, you are free to raise the matter in courts. But it is not right to bully the other person into submission by resorting to goondaism and issuing public threats. It is disgraceful for a secular and democratice country like India. The people who do that should be the ones forced to leave the country, not people like Hussain who simply exercised his rights of artistic expression and freedom of speech.

There are millions of hindus whose sentiments did not get hurt by anything Hussain said or painted. It is because their understanding and respect for their culture is very mature and is not disturbed by what anyone else thinks. This is the right attitude towards culture.

India is a country for Indians, not for hindus alone. If being a hindu is more important than being an Indian for anyone, may be he/she is living in the wrong country. As far as I know, Nepal is the only hindu country in the world.

denver, usa
Jun 10, 2011
11:02 PM

>> As far as I know, Nepal is the only hindu country in the world.

You know wrong. Nepal is no longer a Hindu country.

That's a minor problem though. It's not just your facts that are wrong. Your opinions are wrong too.

Whats InAName
San Francisco, United States
Jun 11, 2011
12:06 AM

Thanks, Anwaar, for the link.

ashok lal
mumbai, India
Jun 11, 2011
05:18 PM

 Let's vote for freedom of expression. Let's build the tolerance to handle it's abuse. Let's pray that people who should have known better not abuse it so cynically. 

nobody inparticular
Mumbai, India
Jun 11, 2011
05:38 PM

 MFH seems to have broken some unwritten contract of modern India where Hindus and Muslims agreed  to not stir the religious sentiments of each other. I find this "unwritten contract" very unhealthy.

nobody inparticular
Mumbai, India
Jun 12, 2011
04:42 AM

M F hussain is over hyped. Period! I say this without any malice towards this great  painter .Mind you, I would gladly walk a mile to see his original paintings any day. His control of an expressive line and exquisite proportions of his  compostions are beyond compare. His use of colour is not only distinctly individual , it is nothing short of revolutionary. No doubt about his craftsmanship. Art History will mark him as a milestone. Beyond this all else is sophistry. Hussain throughout his career had an eye for a "sale". He started by painting film posters and continued painting saleable subjects all his life. Remember his  horses? He knew his potential buyers were amongst Indian business community and so he went on to paint all those Religious images he thought are saleable. He was successful in marketing them. As far as all the controvercy about his style of depiction is concerned ; I like to think that poor man did not know his subject so well . He was just trying to paint something that will sell.  An artist must be responsible to oneself at least. Creative expression means that you'll never do stuff you do not belive in . Hussain's work shows that he did not belive in those icons exactly like when he painted a poster for a movie. He did not have to belive in Aalam ara to paint her  visage. He painted Indira as Durga !!! He was like the greeting card seller who starts by selling Diwali cards in October; by December he is selling Merry christmas cards and by March , Happy Holi cards. He was a great, prolific and successful painter though. Not such a greatly honest artist and comparatively an intellectual pygmy. Even when compared with just other member's of the progressive group. Calling him Indian Picasso is an insult to everyone involved starting from Picasso and several other exceptional Indian artists. The fact that he had received a huge commision to paint  Qatari and Arab history had influenced his decision to move to Qatar. This guy knew which side his bread is buttered. Do not make him a martyr. He was a great painter so let be and let him rest in peace. His life's work will tell all other tales.

Ashutosh Kaul
Toronto, Canada
Jun 12, 2011
02:10 PM

Freedom of Expression should idealy have no constraints. Which means that if Mr A has a right to paint the picture of a Hindu Godess in Nude, Mr B should also have the right to paint the picture of a Non Hindu Religious Prophet in whatever way he wants.

Unless we guarantee this "Freedom of Expression" to everyone and anyone in this nation, there is no point in talking about freedom. When i say guarantee - i mean the state should guarantee that the life of Mr A or Mr B is not harmed in any way by those who are offended.

And if we cannot , why dont we admit it straightaway without making any fuss? Why dont we go ahead and enact a law that makes painting the revered icons of any religion in an unacceptable manner, a offense?

The question is straightforward - either we allow all kinds of expression or allow nothing. But our MSM is simply not interested in this question, they are only looking at a political agenda here. Again they fail - the primary duty to protect Mr MFH from the so called threats of Right wing Hindus lies with the government, particularly the government of India that is the UPA -2. Atleast till May 2014. And the government has failed in that. Yet, the MSM looks the otherway. Maybe MFH's death was a timely god send for the India's dynasty supporters to divert attention from the ongoing public campaign against black money?

Delhi, India
Jun 12, 2011
02:26 PM

One thing that really amuses me is the way our MSM (Main Stream Media) keeps weeping about MFH dying in some strange country outside India.

Now let us deal with hard facts. MFH was born in a lower middle class background but through his own effort and enterprise struck it big in the world of Modern Art and amassed wealth. All said, he is no Sai Baba - he is not a philanthropher or someone who worked for the masses. He earnt wealth, and invested it wisely and spent it and lead a happy and prosperous life that put him in top 1% of population. The very fact that when he was forced to leave India, he took refuge in Dubai (a place that is friendly towards the global rich elite) shows that he was surely not suffering in poverty at any time. And yes, as someone who grew out of his own efforts (and not out of public money like our poltiicians and political dynasties), he deserves and is fully entitled to his lifestyle.

The sore point about our Indian MSM is the way they weep about MFH being forced to die out side of India . Hey Indian MSM , have you ever cared to check on the hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils who are living in penury in refugee camps? Many of them have spent a generation outside their homeland, and dying in a foreign land, amidst penury and poverty. Have you ever cared to point this out?

And what about the hundreds of thousands of Kashmir Pandits, forced outside their ancestral homes, now living in places far away as Delhi and Mumbai ? Many of them have grown old and dead too, all outside the valley? Do they really matter to you?

MFH lead a good life, died in prosperity that he deservingly earnt and yes, he lived a very long life of 95 a longevity 99% of Indian Males never get. Given this , it is quite normal for media to pay obituary. But it is entirely abnormal for same media to write pages and pages about MFH and his death outside india. He is not a publicly elected personality, nor a socio political worker , just an artist who worked hard, struck it rich, enjoyed a very good life (by all standards) and happened to hurt the sentiments of  quite some folks. Why so much fuss about his death? And coming in the backdrop of a massive public movement against black money, does it smell fishy? Is it that India's ruling family wanted MFH death as an opportunity to divert attention ? Or to escape responsibility from protecting MFH and also similar folks (remember the Kerala professor whose hands were chopped?)?

Delhi, India
Jun 12, 2011
06:56 PM

 MFH is an obscene painter in contrast to Picasso !

At this point of time until the end of the month (30 June 2011), the Museum of Modern Art in downtown San Fransisco, near where the 3rd Street just crosses the Market Street at a distance from the Castro end, is holding an exhibition of the Stein collection of Picasso's painting along with some of Matisse and Braques on the fourth floor. One finds there some striking portraits of Gertrude by Picasso where Picasso  by his masterstroke displayed splendidly the serene beauties in virtues of women.  There is also a work by Matisse of a female head with majestic colours exploding.

I doubt if any of Hussain's paintings of Saraswati (and other Hindu godeeses) can stand up to that standard of Picasso and Matisse as a creation of art. Where Hussains excels over Picasso (and others such as Matisse) is in his pornography.  Has he ever drawn Saraswati dressed as a sublime woman as Picasso did for Gertrude ? 

Picasso (and other famous artists) have drawn nude women figures, but nowhere one finds there pornography as in MFH's works. I repeat MFH is known to have indulged in his works on Hindu Godesses with a sick bigoted mind indeed.

A tip for those who could visit the Stein exhibition. Please do not miss the coffee on the fifth floor, that is best in SFO and may be one of the best in the world !

Pinaki S Ray
Adelaide, Australia
Jun 13, 2011
09:49 PM

All those whose heads are hanging in shame for MFH, do not feel any shame when government unleashed lathis on sleeping persons in midnight. This tells a lot about their character.

Pune, India
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