Living in Dubai by choice

DUBAI — Setting aside all speculation, M.F. Husain, India’s most celebrated living artist, has said he will be travelling to India next week.

By Mehre Alam

Published: Thu 1 Mar 2007, 8:16 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:51 AM

M.F. HusainHusain has been facing obscenity charges in India and he has been accused by some of dithering over his India visit to avoid facing the law.

Some of the drawings of the painter has drawn ire of a section of Hindu groups, who accuse him of hurting their religious sentiments by some of his sketches.

“An artist is always ahead of his times,” Husain told Khaleej Times in a freewheeling interview on February 27. “India is my motherland. Nobody is stopping me from visiting my country,” he added.

Husain blamed the media for all such speculation. “The talk is all bunkum,” he retorted.

Also clarifying his position on the talk of his “exile”, he said it was a “matter of choice” for him.

“The government of India has not enforced anything,” he said. Husain has been living in Dubai for nearly one year now. “I have been living abroad for the last 50 years,” said the painter who had once described himself as an “International Gypsy.”

“In the 80s, I worked in New York. Prior to that I was working in London, Paris etc. I love to work at different places,” Husain clarified, adding that no other meaning should be attached to his staying in Dubai.

However, in the same period, a concerted hate campaign has been unleashed on the net against the celebrity painter. A chain of hate mails have been circulating recently, with some of them demanding a complete social boycott of the painter as well as boycott of all his paintings. Some of them are even calling for withdrawing of all public honours bestowed on the painter by the government of India. On the other hand, a large section of people are appalled at the prospect of the criminal prosecution of the frail 92-year-old with thick, white mane, who is a living legend in every sense of the word.

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