Feel free, Mr Husain. Go paint Qatari leaders

via http://www.deccanchronicle.com/blogs/others/feel-free-mr-husain-go-paint-qatari-leaders-773 published on March 11, 2010

By Cho Ramaswamy

Now that M.F. Husain has settled in Qatar where there is total freedom, he is free of the shackles imposed by the Indian system on freedom of expression. All those who appreciate his art would now eagerly await his imaginative paintings of the leaders of Qatari society, hopefully not artistically clothed.

His fans would not expect him to confine nudity to Hindu deities alone; it would extend to all the religions. Having already painted his mother, daughter and Muslim kings fully robed, Mr Husain, being the freed citizen that he is now in Qatar, should be prepared to remove those clothes. How can the artist in him be satisfied with seeing Saraswati and Parvati alone in the nude?

Fortunately for art in the nude, the courts here cannot do anything to Mr Husain now that he has run away from the Indian judicial system. All the cases could be now buried amidst the pictures drawn by him. Both would mercifully go to the dustbin.

I am very anxious not to get branded as communal in my thinking. I want to be hailed as a secularist and so I would say with all the force I can command that Mr Husain has the inalienable right to depict the Hindu deities in the most obscene manner while taking care to paint even non-religious Muslims fully clothed.

He can claim that because he hates Hitler he painted him in the nude so he could humiliate him and in the same breath justify his nude pictures of Hindu goddesses as depiction of purity.

And because I am secular, I would also assert that his not returning to India is only to gain freedom from the Indian fascism and not to avoid being apprehended by the law enforcers in this country. Being a liberal-minded artist, he naturally is not able to put up with the protests which do not harm him in any way.

Shunning the Indian system and preferring the Qatar environment is not an act of hypocrisy but one of liberal, secular and free thought. And now that Mr Husain has established himself as such a stout campaigner for free expression, I must believe firmly that he will forcefully plead with his new protectors in Qatar to roll out of a bit of that red carpet to Taslima Nasreen, another hounded victim from the literary world.

– Cho S. Ramaswamy is a well-known political analyst, actor, dramatist and editor of
Tamil magazine Tughlak

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