ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Husain's Passage through India

In his art and life Maqbool Fida Husain embodied the varied creativities and stark variations of India.

The entire liberal edifice of our society – the executive, the judiciary, the media, the art establishment, the muchcelebrated “civil society” – stands condemned because Maqbool Fida Husain (Pandharpur 1915-London 2011) had to die in enforced exile. The Hindu right would have loved nothing more than have him return, so they could resume attacking him, reviling him, hounding him. Today, they fret and fume, little bullies stewing in the juices of their hollow machismo.

Husain was amongst the finest representatives of that generation of artists who, having grown up during the anti-colonial struggle, came into their own in independent India. That he, more than anyone else in the visual arts, embodied the “Nehruvian moment” has been extensively commented upon. What needs underlining is that Husain seamlessly and unselfconsciously embraced the whole of India, beyond distinctions of region, caste, creed and language. In this, he was a true world citizen, soaking up influences indiscriminately, with a world view which was, in the best sense, humanistic.

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