Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s pre-eminent contemporary artist, was cleared by three supreme court judges of the charge of offending Hindus, for his painting Bharat Mata (Mother India). The petition seeking prosecution claimed that the painting, which depicts a nude woman, was sacrilegious.
“Does the sentiment of the petitioner get scandalized by the large number of photographs of erotic sculptures which are in circulation?” the judges asked. “It is an art like the sculptures. None get scandalized looking at the sculptures.”
The artist, known in India as MF Husain, told the Associated Press: “At last, the dignity of Indian contemporary art has been upheld by the supreme court as expected.” He could not be contacted today.
That’s what he thinks. MF Husain will not be returning to India, from where he has been in self-imposed exile since 2006, until the hundreds of cases claiming damages for hurting “Hindu sentiment” are withdrawn. The supreme court ruling has done nothing for MF Husain.
His other paintings have also depicted:
- Naked Sita on the long tail of Hanuman
- Lord Hanuman with His genitals pointing towards a woman having sexual intercourse
- Hanuman opposite Sita sitting on the thigh of naked Ravana
- Naked Goddess Lakshmi on the head of an elephant
- Naked Goddess Saraswati
- Bull copulating with Parvati, with Shiva watching
Needless to say that Hindu groups found them objectionable.
HINDUTVAVADI organisations in Maharashtra appear to have resumed their old game of whipping up anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan sentiments after a short-lived show of peaceful co-existence prior to the Lok Sabha elections.
On May 1, Bajrang Dal activists forced their way into the South Mumbai home of artist M.F. Husain and created mayhem. Husain, who had left his apartment shortly before the Bajrang Dal raid, told Frontline that he had spotted a crowd outside the compound when he was about to leave but thought that it had something to do with Maharashtra Day celebrations.
I suspect that had these discerning Hindutva art-lovers been around in the 11th century, there would be no such thing as the jaw-dropping beauty of the Temples of Khajuraho or the amazing Konark Sun Temple or indeed any of the thousands of statues that depict erotic iconography which would be regarded, in this day and age of incendiary religious sentiment, as “insulting”.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,India,Moral police