M.F. Husain says he is returning to India

July 22nd, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, July 22 (IANS) Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s best-known artist, is returning home from the exile he was forced into by people protesting his nude depiction of Hindu goddesses. “India is my home. As soon as my current work is done, I’ll return,” the painter told IANS.

“Is anybody stopping me?” added Husain, who at 93 continues to be Indian art’s best-known enfant terrible.

Husain said he will return home as soon as he has finished his current series of paintings, which he said were on the theme of “Indian civilisation”.

In a move laden with symbolism, Husain made a rare public appearance Monday at the opening of an exhibition of prints by Raja Ravi Varma - the 19th century Indian painter.

Husain said he was working out of both Dubai and London. Husain’s return will follow a strong ruling in his favour by the Delhi High Court in May.

Judge Sanjay Kishen Kaul handed out a 74-page-judgment that was scathing in its criticism of those who had brought charges of obscenity against the painter.

“A painter has his own perspective of looking at things and it cannot be the basis of initiating criminal proceedings against him,” Kaul said.

“In India, a new puritanism is being carried out in the name of cultural purity and a host of ignorant people are vandalising art and pushing us towards a pre-renaissance era,” the judge added.

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