Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sundeep Dougal has a useful FAQ on M.F. Husain

Over at the Outlook blog. This particular question gets to the crux of the looniness of the anti-Husain campaign:

But aren't these paintings insulting and obscene and liable to hurt the sentiments of Hindus?

Well, ask any art-critic and historian and they would be able to place it in perspective. Delhi High Court in May 2008 clearly stated the obvious: "A painter has his own perspective of looking at things and it cannot be the basis of initiating criminal proceedings against him...In India, new puritanism is being carried out in the name of cultural purity and a host of ignorant people are vandalizing art and pushing us towards a pre-renaissance era".

The Chief Justice of India K.G.Balakrishan had the best response to the question when, while upholding the Delhi HC decision, he said: “There are so many such subjects, photographs and publications. Will you file cases against all of them? It (Husain’s work) is art. If you don’t want to see it, then don’t see it. There are so many such art forms in the (Hindu) temple structures.”

The main point to note also is that these paintings were not in public places and were in private collections, rarely exhibited and that too in rarefied exhibitions attended by people who by no stretch of imagination would have been offended by them, at exclusive galleries. All of them were done many, many years back. Those who claimed to be hurt by these paintings were the ones who went about putting these paintings in public domain. [Bold emphasis added]


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    I saw this in a few places including in one of the comments in the Outlook post :
    "hussain painted hitler in the nude. when he was asked why did he paint hitler in the nude he said "i wanted to expose him". "
    Is there any reference like a recorded interview
    or a Hussain article for this?