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Thursday, February 25, 2010
MF Hussain, India's Picasso
I am agonized over the controversy MF Hussain the artist has generated. I am particularly disappointed with the intellectuals among us, who have not stepped up to allay the sense of hate and divisive politics emerging out of the disucssions all over India and here including the face book.
MF Hussain is a painter, like any other painter or a sculptor in the world who excells on nude pictures or sculptures. We Indians do not have an appetite for that, and personally, I don't care to appreciate nudity, particularly of the persona of the people we revere and honor, like Mother Sita.
Please do not assume that Mother Sita is not revered by Muslims, she is an example of what a good partner and devout wife is all about. As a Muslim I honor her and quote her exemplary life, like most Muslims do, Urdu Poetry abundantly exemplies her devotion. It is a dream of every man to have a partner and a wife like Sita, who did not cross the Lakshman's Rekha. She is beyond Religion like most great souls.
Hussain is a painter and finds expression in that form of art, he could have been a Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Jew, Christian, Atheist or whatever, and in this case he happens to be a Muslim. Artists are free people, he did not paint to make any one angry, he did what the Indians have always done and sculpted for thousands of years as evidenced in Khajuraho and other temples, indeed we are the teachers of the art of love making, we gave Kamasutra to the world.
Hussain did not paint those pics to please Muslims, nor was that an Islamic thing to do. Neither was he commissioned by Muslims to paint, he did that for his own, like every other artist out there and there are thousands of them. As a matter of fact, Islam forbids paintings of pictures.
Please do not make this a Hindu Muslim thing, it is not. This is about an artist and his limits. It does not make any sense to bring religion into this.
Those among us, who hate him, have doubled the value of his paintings and those who appreciate his work have certainly contributed towards his rise.
America became a great nation by inviting people to become her Citizens and gave them opportunities that India did not, and Qatar has offered her Citizenship, India should keep him in India with all the honor and dignity he deserves and brings to India. May be we should honor him and ask him to honor us by not painting the pictures of revered figures.
Rushdie became international with the ban and the protests against his book. Indeed, the small segment of Muslims made him a big author. Now the small segment of Hindu protests and negative writings will make Hussain a luminary.
Remember, he is an artist and a patriot. No one in any nations history has yielded to pressures, they would rather die, than succumb to pressures. In which case more artists will come on the plane and paint more of the pictures that you and I don't like.
Ignoring is the right thing to do, but breeding hate is not.
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His work is reflected at three websites and 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
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Updated, Saturday, February 27, 2010
Hussain’s topic has come to a beautiful conclusion now;
Here were the last few comments to munch on:
Mike Ghouse # 93
By the way, his paintings are not acceptable to Muslims at all including me. We abhor those paintings, I want you to understand that clearly, Islam prohibits him from painting any picture, let alone nude pictures. Islam also forbids one to make mockery of other faiths. Hussain has violated both. I am not defending Hussain at all.
If he were to be in Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia, he would have been killed. As a nation, do we want us to be like Afghanistan? Indeed, the whole issue is about how do we deal with things we don't like. ...
Most Muslims including me were against banning Rushdie's book, we wrote against it and spoke against it. I appealed to the fanatic binge among Muslims to ignore the cartoons, instead I had asked them to pray that goodwill prevails, and several mosques have done that.
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Dear Mike ji,
Thanks for confirming this. I know very well that No Good Muslim would assert this.
Now let me talk to you genuinely from my heart. I have been talking all the while of shooting and pelting this chap with stones. But had I had the authority, I would not have put him under any legislative law or under any act initially, but taken few prominent citizens with whom he could co-relate to, and discussed it out with him personally, as to why he was doing and indulging in all this. What was the great idea, and what is the consequence of this, which is nothing but spreading hate, creating communal tensions, because the man on the road does not have time for talking, they understand only two words- Hindu and Muslim, and not beyond this.... And I know I would have convinced him to see the dreadful consequences, and managed to turn his mind from doing what he was, towards more constructive type of creations which could spread instead communal harmony. This man has not been tapped actually, the right way. If it was possible for me to meet him, I would have turned him a No.1 favourite by turning his mind as above.... ...
The second option of law, and the third option of punishment does not need to be used in my case, for I know what artists are made of, and know which chords to be touched and where. About his painting nudity, I have no problem, that's his choice as long as he does not use subjects as under question, for his paintings.
Thank you ...
NOTE # 90
- Dear Bhaskar and very dear Kamlesh
COULD WE AGREE THAT:
1. Those paintings are offensive in our contemporary culture
2. Regardless of our religions, paintings are distasteful
3. Freedom comes with responsibility to society at large
4. Artists do not select their subjects to hate any one
5. The artist did not have mal-intention when he painted it
6. The artists* to abstain from painting what offends society
7. That the artist has the freedom to apologize or not.
8. That the artist has the right to live safely in India
9. That the issue is purely cultural
0. That the painting be ignored and not published
\And we can add a few more things that would be acceptable to public at large and subject to debates
AS A SOCIETY SHOULD WE:
1. Regulate freedom of expression, all expression?
2. Should we regulate what artists cannot do?
3. Should we regulate what films cannot be produced?
4. Should we regulate what speeches cannot be made?
5. Should we regulate what cannot be published?
6. Should we have democracy as our system of governance?
7. Should we agree that we should have differing opinions?