BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Law Minister Dr M Veerappa Moily, among others condoled the sad demise of noted artist Maqbool Fida Hussain (M F Hussain), who died of heart attck early this morning at Royal Brompton Hospital in London.
In her condolence message, the president said: “Shri Hussain was a world renowned artist whose extra-ordinary style made him a celebrity on his own right in the arena of contemporary paintings. A man of multi-dimensional talent, his death would create a deep void in the world of art and creativity. He also brought glory to the house as a Parliamentarian.”
Vice President Hamid Ansari said in his condolence message that “in an illustrious life of over nine decades dedicated to his artistic pursuits, Husain saheb captured people’s imagination with his portrayal of important personalities and events. His death is an immense loss to the nation and to the artistic community.”
“I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Shri Maqbool Fida Husain, a legend of art of our times. To most Indians, he came to represent modern Indian art. Besides his enormous achievements in painting and other art forms, M F Husain was a keen observer of our national evolution which was reflected in his art,” said the vice president.
“My wife joins me in sending our heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and the wide circle of his admirers and friends. We pray to the Almighty to grant them strength and fortitude to withstand this tragedy,” Hamid Ansari said.
Expressing deep sadness on the passing away of one of India’s greatest artistic talents, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his condolence message: “Shri Hussain was one of the brightest stars in the Indian art firmament, which he dominated for nearly seventy years.”
Shedding light on the early life of the legendary artist, the prime minister said that Hussain’s began his life as a painter painting cinema hoardings. His paintings covered a breathtaking range from evocative life portraits to massive murals. The beauty and feeling of his paintings were appreciated by one and all and he made an immense contribution to popularizing Indian art both within the country and abroad, he said.
“He captivated art lovers with his deep appreciation of the human condition and his bold and imaginative strokes. In the passing away of Shri M.F. Hussain, the nation has lost an iconic artist and the art world one of its most colourful personalities, whose genius left a deep imprint on Indian art,” said the prime minister.
Union Minister of Law & Justice Dr M Veerappa Moily said in his condolence message: “I am shocked to know about the demise of our great world know artist M.F. Hussain. He has been a great legendary who was a King among the Artists. His contribution to art is commendable and he will always be remembered by the country.”
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said his death created a “vacuum in the creative world.”
Describing Husain as an “eminent and respected” personality, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said it was true that he got displeased at many instances and he did express his displeasure, but the government and many NGos tried to reason out with him.
“He was invited to India… I do not remember on how many occasions. It’s very unfortunate that narrow minded people look at art and creativity with same perspective, but the majority of Indian people have never supported their views,” Soni said when asked about protests against him and his paintings by right-wing activists.
“As far as change in citizenship is concerned, I myself listened to one of his interviews where he cited work and lifestyle as reasons for changing citizenship. I don’t think he stopped loving his country,” Soni said.
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, who has been a bitter critic of Husain for his painting depicting Hindu dieties in “poor light”, prayed for peace to the soul of the artist.
“Damage may have been caused to modern art due to his demise. That’s all. May Allah give him peace,” Thackeray said.
He went on to add: “As an artist, everyone has a domain and Husain handled his modern art with zeal. However, he ‘slipped’ while drawing paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses.”
However, MNS chief Raj Thackeray said all controversies related to paintings of the renowned painter should be laid to rest with his demise.
“Husain was a national asset and his contribution to the field of Indian art can never be overlooked. Whatever controversies happened should be laid to rest with his passing and if his family wishes to bring back the mortal remains home, it should be allowed,” Raj said.
He said Husain should be accorded appropriate respect. The MNS president, himself a cartoonist, said Pandharpur-born Husain was deeply associated with Maharashtra where his art blossomed and gained international recognition.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also condoled the demise of the renowned painter and described him as an artist who promoted modern art in India.
Condoling the death of the artist, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “I will never forget the privilege of watching you paint in Sanawar (Shimla) all those years ago.”
Condoling the death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described him as “a unique painter whom the world will miss forever”.
Mamata said though Husain courted controversy over some of his paintings and many did not like some of his works, “as an admirer of Husain’s paintings, I accord full honours to him. He carved a niche for himself in the minds of common men”.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in his condolence message said: “In Husain’s death we have lost a legend… It has caused massive loss to modern Indian art.”
The death of the artist has created a ‘vacuum in the creative world’, he said, adding, Husain had given a new direction to modern art which gained international identity.
“I pray for peace of the departed soul and to God to give strength to Husain’s relatives and admirers in this hour,” he said.