Death of a Legend

M.F.Husain is no more but he will always remain in our heart through his wonderful narratives in modern art. Husain died on the night of June 9, 2011 London at the age of 93. He popularized art in India and created wonderful paintings.

It is tragic that this greatest artist of India died in exile in London. Indian authorities could not guarantee his safety as he was continuously being hounded. His world known paintings were vandalised by the moral guardians of our society who do not bother when their daughters die of dowry and for honor killings. They do not have time to launch a campaign against social evil which denigrate our women but they found time in claiming that Husain denigrated our Gods and Goddesses. Husain was a pure artist and can never be portrayed as a hate monger. He was a lover of Indian traditions and its concept of beauty. The most important part was he always remained Indian by heart and wanted to come back to India.

The Indian state failed in protecting one of its most illustrious artists. Freedom of expression is an inherent part of a strong democracy. At the moment when we are witnessing voices for transparency and against corruption, the issues of moral policing and secularism become more important. We cannot fight a battle against corruption but ignoring these important dimensions of our secular pluralistic polity. If goons and chauvinists start dictating our cultural values in the street rabble rousing, then creativity will be the biggest victim and more over, our young will fall prey to such vicious propagandists nationalists who have no time for the issues that our country is face including poverty, hunger and gender and caste discrimination.

Husain’s death reminds us that the government of the day has to assert its authority and protect its people. It cannot allow Kangaroo courts for those dissenters who think of society and refuse to be part of the jingoistic jargon in the name of culture and identity. India must get out of this street jingoism otherwise these hooligans in the name of culture and identity will one day destroy the same people and control their mind.

Creativity is without any boundary, Husain said once. Yes, intellect and work for people would be recognised world over. Husain might have been targeted by these goons who threatened him, destroyed those master pieces and intimidated him through hundreds of litigation’s, but at the end they failed to silence him. They failed to make him apologise. That was his greatness. He would have been welcomed by any country and any society yet he always wanted to be in India. His heart was for India. At the age of 93, he showed how creativity made a man so young and child like in thinking. He was curious and naive like a child without any remorse and hatred towards any one. We failed to respect him. We are ashamed that at the end he had to die in exile.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

A human rights activist, writer and film maker, VB is widely traveled in India and abroad and have spoken at the various national and international conferences.