Arvind Das for BeyondHeadlines
Mother India and Indian-ness are being constantly invoked in the last few weeks. Black bearded Baba, Swami in saffron and self declared crusaders in Gandhian caps are bearers of such campaigns!
I am not sure if these enchanting were reverting in his ears as well. And if it was, what was coursing through his mind?
In one of his recent painting Mother India was in fact trying to eliminate the evil of corruption. Self declared custodians of Hindu religion and culture saw his another ‘Mother India’ painting, sketched in 2006 as objectionable and his exhibition was vandalized by some Hindutva cadres. Due to all this he had to spend the last few years in self-imposed exile.
They failed to understand the leitmotif of Mother India. Husain saw India through artistic prism, like any other artists.
He loved India and the composite culture of this country was clearly visible in his works. Even till his last, he was working on portraying Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The anti-corruption crusaders are hailing Mother India, calling their movement the ‘second freedom struggle.’ In their struggle for ‘freedom’ how much do they care for Husain and his ilks?
Husain was deserted by the Indian State in the last lap of his life. Only those in exile or a refugee can better understand the pain of dying away from the motherland. He kept saying repeatedly that he loved his nation and he wants to come back.
Was this in Husain’s fate that he does not get even ‘two square meters’ of soil in his beloved country or our misfortune?
Arvind Das is a doctorate from JNU and currently working as Senior Researcher at ITV. He has formerly worked in BBC and Star News.
Do gaz zameen bhi na mili ku-e-yaar mein is a line from a couplet of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, who too died in Exile in Rangoon, which would translate into English as “Did not even get two square meters of soil in the lanes of the beloved.”