Open letter to M F Husain

Dear Mr. Husain

I have great respect to artists. Especially to those like you who have set your own mark in the field of art, though I don’t understand (and can’t appreciate) certain forms of art due to the lack of my knowledge in the field of art. But as far as the freedom of expression goes, I am fully with you Sir. That nobody holds the right to tell an artist how he/she should express through their art. And an artist need not consider what his/her audience asks what to do with their artistic medium because that will kill the sole purpose of his/her work. Art is born when an artiste feels that he/she cannot live without doing it.

But you should also consider, Mr. Husain, that people are free to protest. Peacefully, yes. They can file complaints in the court and as long as the laws of the country see it fit, the court can ask you to be present and give an explanation by the law. No sir, I am not supporting the Sangh Family here. Those goons will have this or any other reason just to flare up the communal sentiments and get people into the street to get them killed. On one hand they proclaim they are a civilized society unlike the Fatwa issuing communities and on the other they issue their own Fatwas – like offering Rs. 51 crores to behead you, 1 KG of Gold to gouge your eyes and 20000 Euros to chop off your hands. But except for their blind and foolish supporters, nobody has thought a bit highly of them, so let us leave it at that.

Now coming to the matter at hand, shouldn’t you accept the end results of your work with the same courage that you took to do your creative work? Shouldn’t you face the court, like many brave souls did, to stand tall and firm for the artistic cause you had? Have you ever thought of what kind of an impression it leaves upon the supporters of freedom of expression when you go hiding in another country and fly around in your Ferrarri while you put all the blame on your old homeland? I do understand, that any man can get afraid of getting caged at this age, after having been revered as one of the great artists of our time. So if you just simply said that you don’t prefer to live in India fearing the court case, that would make more sense. But by putting blame on India, that it did not protect you or there were not enough sane and supportive voices, you are insulting the sensitivity of the majority of the people here in India, who have always supported the freedom of expression, unlike a few goons from the saffron brigade.

Were you running away fearing for your life? But even then, what makes you think you are more secure in Qatar? Fundamentalists are everywhere and if you are running away from them, you will have to run away from the whole world. So what is the kind of example that you are setting here?

You say a painter is a world citizen. But why just the painter, Sir? We are all citizens of this world, not just you. We all know that countries, states and borders are all illusions drawn by some people to stay firm to powerful places, but it is our convenience and sentiments that makes us stay where we are. Why don’t you just accept and admit that simple fact?

PS: I am also curious as to why you mentioned you had a friend, who was a “Brahmin”. What and how does that matter in proving your tolerance to religions?

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