Voyeur MF Hussain's "Bharat Mata" is a "work of art": says Indian Supreme Court

Last updated on Sep 10, 2008

Posted on Sep 10, 2008

This week in a landmark judgment of its sort, the Supreme Court termed MF Hussain’s painting of “Bharat Mata” (or Indian Goddess) in nude as a “work of art”.

The 92 year old painter – who lives in a self imposed exile in Dubai is very happy (as I am sure are many of his supporters, amongst them the activists from the secularists brigade)  and feels that finally the highest court in his homeland has understood his definition of art.

As the story goes, this is the triumph of “art” and its senstivity.  And we are to believe that the old heart of MG Hussain beats persistently for art and its license.

Given that as his motivation – art and its abundant freedom – I was pretty sure that he would have defended the Danish Cartoonist who drew Mohammad’s cartoons.  Specially because he would have understood the guy’s pain!  And since he was bang in the center of Islamic world – Dubai – he could have made a HUGE difference with his treatise and discussion on artistic sensibility.

But that is what I believed!  The reality – zilch!  Not even a whimper!

Artistic sensibility should be practiced and touted by those who believe in it with their WHOLE existence!  Like it was oxygen.  If anybody was deprived of it.. the entire Art world could die!  THAT is how the artistic freedom should be defended and fought for!

But for people like MF Hussain it was NOT about artistic freedom, but rather about publicity.. about using the emotions and hurt to people who believed otherwise to create a market!  It was never about the oxygen.. it was about the spectacular effect of his sparks that he used to burn someone’s heart and then make money out of it!

I am FOR artistic license.  PERIOD.  Anybody has right to make anything as art.  BUT then I believe ANYTHING!  And if I defend Danish Cartoons, I am duty bound to defend Hussain’s paintings itself!

But, unfortunately, I cannot defend MF Hussain!  He painted those pictures not as an artist – but as a voyeur to begin with!  Otherwise, he would stood on his rooftop in Dubai and shouted hoarse to defend the Danish Editor and newspaper – which he clearly forgot!!

So, irrespective of what people say, Hussain is NOT an artist – but a voyeur – for he himself demeans the artistic freedom and the criticality of it!

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