M.F. Husain comes ‘home’ on Gandhi’s birth anniversary


New Delhi : Artist M.F. Husain, who lives in self-exile in London to keep away from his critics in the Hindutva brigade, came “home” in a special way on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary Tuesday with his admirers here gushingly greeting him via a video-conference call.

Support TwoCircles

“I am very happy to see that there are people who love me and my work. I want to come back to my country and I will soon come back to meet all my well-wishers,” an overwhelmed Husain said.

In a way, it was a belated birthday celebration for the artist as well. Some 50 people turned up for the event. They included artists, socialites and art lovers.

“Husain’s birthday was on Sep 17 but for various reasons we could not celebrate it then. We thought Gandhi Jayanti was a good day to do so,” said one of the organisers.

“I don’t understand why a man who has been given so many awards should suddenly be hounded like this,” said renowned actress Shabana Azami.

“His exile has been taken very lightly. For an artist, the best place to be creative is in his own homeland and a gem like Husain, who is so grounded to the soil of his homeland should be enabled to return home,” she added.

“I really feel bad for Husain. He is a great artist and the Hindutva attacks on him will only serve to de-motivate other artists,” said art lover Peter Johnson.

Husain’s paintings first attracted controversy when they were reproduced by inVichar Mimansa, a Hindi monthly magazine, as part of an article headlined “M.F. Husain: A Painter or Butcher”.

Since then, Husain has been accused of denigrating Hindu gods and goddesses and has been engaged in a series of court battles, though the courts have found no wrongdoing on his part. However, a number of pending cases prompted him to go into self-exile more than a year ago.