by Ritwik on June 10, 2011
The following is written by Dilip Simeon – Ritwik
NB: This is extracted from a thread on my Wall. It is an immediate and emotional reaction to an ongoing tragedy. I am overwhelmed with grief and anger at what has happened, and am expressing that here. It was written in response to a friends’ remark that our government wears secularism on its sleeve, but was unable to bring MF back home with security.
Can we please remove the meal from our mouths now?
Our great secularists have always found it possible to keel over when it comes to confronting fascism. Sadly that’s equally true of Very Revolutionary people. The fact remains that the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal etc hounded MF Husain out of his country in his old age. And the government plus the judiciary, despite a Delhi HC order 3 years ago (Justice S K Kaul) saying MF deserved to be back & painting in his home, hadn’t the noodles to dismiss all the trumped up cases. Now everyone including the goondas will talk about ‘the Indian Picasso’. We’re a world-class power after all. We must never lose an opportunity to take credit for those of us who are globally known. Even if we hate their guts.
After all this there are many of us who still believe the RSS in power wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
All of us are at fault for giving in to intimidation in the name of pragmatic governance. I have a deep sense of being personally aggrieved at MF’s plight. It’s re-opened old wounds. I was hounded out of my college in the mid 90’s by my own colleagues in the institution for which I had worked so hard. The ones who wanted me out are the same bunch of patriots.
But no one is guiltless in all this. Taslima was forced out of Bangladesh, then forced out of Kolkata by Muslim fanatics given free rein by the Left Front. The heroes of police action in Nandigram didn’t have the guts to take police action against fascists in their capital city. Some years ago a set of sex-obsessed goons began campaigning against Valentines’ Day and womens lingerie. If Islam and Hinduism need their ‘honour’ defended by mentally retarded hooligans & via the burning of books and underwear, then the followers of these great traditions ought to hang their heads in shame. Or consign their so-called religious beliefs to the dustbin. Why don’t they speak up and tell the gangsters to go to hell? Why are we always differentiating between ‘our scoundrels’ & ‘their scoundrels’? Why can’t we stop being defensive and call a spade a spade? We are all complicit in permitting this state of affairs.
One the one hand the ultra-patriots complain that the minorities don’t integrate, and when one of them appears so steeped in Hindu culture and tradition that it becomes his very muse, they vandalise his home and his art! Here’s Pritish Nandy’s article He was as Hindu as any one of us: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/M-F-Husain-was-as-hindu-as-any-one-of-us/articleshow/8794586.cms
(Indeed, Pritish! You could have told your party boss Thackeray that, who famously said “if Husain can enter Hinduism, why can’t we enter his house?’ – Nandy joined the Rajya Sabha as member for the Shiv Sena in 1998)
What do they want? All non-Hindus to either shoot themselves or lick the RSS boots every day to get a certificate of patriotism? It’s clear as daylight that the only ‘objectionable’ thing the fascists gleefully fastened on to was the name ‘Husain’. Had the same stuff been painted by a Dixit or a Joshi, they would have strutted about with pride. This is where we are today, at the mercy of outright lumpens, who enjoy the status of respectability.
If the government of India offer MF’s dead body a Bharat Ratna, I would urge his family to tell them to put it where the sun don’t shine. Or, what amounts to the same thing, give it to Bal Thackeray and Togadia for so valiantly defending Hinduism, by forcing an old man – India’s Picasso, no less – to die in exile. Bury him in Hampstead Heath. There’s more peace, and maybe less chance of some NRI ultra-patriots vandalising his grave.
RIP Maqbool Fida. We didn’t deserve you
Also read : ‘A Casualty of his one painting’ Manoj Mitta
Husain’s greatest muse was India & its folklore – Gayatri Sinha
Intolerance, a story too familiar with Indian art – Srijana Mitra Das