Friday, 10 June 2011

M F Hussain

A man -- scorched in the heat of controversies, an old man who has faced fire and never bowed down. He took exile since 2006 as he left India and lived away from the land of his art. M.F Hussain reminds one of W.B Yeats' famous line -- "An old man's eagle mind". The power that Hussain had in his imagination showed itself in his actions, decisions and his unbent attitude towards his actions shows the immense respect he had for his own paintings that brought him fire, rage and caused him to leave his land. What gave that man such confidence? He had been accused of insulting the Holy Gods of India. He had painting the deities naked and had painted sexual union with animals. What we must enquire is the nature of imagination of an artist. What we see as nakedness is not necessarily nakedness to an artist. Eroticism is an expression of creativity, of wild ecstasy as well as divine frenzy. while the deities symbolise the divine prowess, magic and endless probability, the sexual union shows raw creative power. Why then bring on the unnecessary points?
Hailed as the Picasso of India, Hussain's artistic technique is indeed similar to Picasso. But Hussain was intensely versatile. His style ranged from the Impressionist mode to the more disciplined styles of the European Art. Cubist techniques were employed in water colour which is quite laudable. The usage of the guache technique as well as usage of repoussoire in the Oil paintings which uses brilliant vibrant colors and experiments with dimensions are an artist's delight of creation. The light brush strokes as well as the perfect Chiaroscuro that reminds one of Rembrandt's art. While the bold yet adumbration of the contorversial figures have made him the horned satan to certain sect, M.F Hussain remains the man of unsurpassed glory in Modern Indian Painting.

while such paintings showcase the man's sheer artistic excllence the following had caused haywire in India.   
 Why should Lakshmi-Ganesh be not seen as expression of the Ardhanarishwar painted along the diaphragm?
 Why can the Devi, the spirit of creation can not be seen as the Coleridgean picture of the poet? if Kali's nakedness is the exuberance of her power, why should Saraswati's nakedness be sexual?

What is so impure about this picture of Parvati? Is it not an expression of artistic brilliance?

The concept of the Pasha-game and the Vastra-haran of Draupadi is painted so beautifully, so symbolic, and this is ignominy of Hinduism? Womanhood?

If Ram could leave Sita basedon the accusations of sexual relations with Ravan, isnt this picture a sign of the protest from an Indian bhakt?

India, along the lines of a woman's body, is perhaps the best representation of Bharat Mata. A mother's breast is celebrated, sign of nurturance and the woman's organ is the Janam-dwar. What does this show about the sectarian mentality of India? They eye their mother's body as an sexual object? A mother is as bhoggya as a mate?

Does MF Hussain require a Bharat Ratna now? He can only laugh. 

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!


  1. perhaps there is something in the destiny of great artists, which makes them exiles. Hussain, great as he was, belongs to a hallowed tradition. may the future Indian generations have the sense to recuperate his remains.

  2. The question is what remains? With the artist goes his thought,his style,his emotions.Only his technique remains.Like a Nandalal Bose or a Ravi Verma.Modern art takes different shapes and forms, changes with time.With Hussains we lose perspectives & respect.A Salman Rushdie,a Taslima Nasrin all lie beyond the boundaries of acceptance.Their truths remain scathed.Shall recuperation ever happen Mr.Chakraborty?I feel so sad for Tasleema -- such a woman!Such expanse of knowledge and had she penned a single lie?Every woman in the Indian sub-continent knows the truth of her experiences.Every man knows how difficult it is to overthrow her challenges.So,she is uprooted and thrown off.I really dont know Mr.Chakraborty,what happens in a world where even the Dalai Lama is forced to live in exile.A monk for God's sake!