Hussain's 'unholy' paintings spark orgy of violence | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Hussain's 'unholy' paintings spark orgy of violence

PTI | Byhindustantimes.com, New Delhi
Apr 14, 2005 09:16 PM IST

Acknowledged as one of the living legends of Indian art, MF Hussain caused a public furore by painting goddesses in the nude in 1996. Depicting Saraswati, Durga and Draupadi naked in the company of various animals certainly meant trouble.

Acknowledged as one of the living legends of Indian art, Maqbool Fida Hussain created a public furore by painting Hindu goddesses in the nude in 1996.

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Depicting Saraswati, Durga and Draupadi naked in the company of various animals and identifying them by name on each canvas was always going to be provocative for a certain section of the people.

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Hussain later apologised and said he had not meant to hurt the sentiments of any religious group. He even expressed his willingness to go before a committee of three persons - an art critic, a lawyer and a representative of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad - that could scrutinise his entire collection. Hussain said he would immediately destroy anything that the committee found objectionable.

That suggestion was brushed aside as members of members of hard-line Hindu organisations ransacked the painter's house in Mumbai and also manhandled artists outside a gallery in Delhi that had Hussain's works on display.

Condemning the attacks, Hussain's supporters insisted his own religious beliefs were of no relevance. According to them, Hindu gods and goddesses had been depicted throughout history in sculpture and painting not just in the nude but in sexual positions as well and therefore there was nothing sacrilegious about what the world-renowned artist had done.

The argument however didn't go down well with angry protestors across the country who charged Hussain with 'hurting Hindu sentiments, promoting enmity between different religious groups and casting a slur on the dignity of women'. Nine cases were filed against him at Dhanbad, Siwan, Danapur and Ranchi in Bihar, Bhopal, Raipur and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Chiplun and Mumbai in Maharashtra after the paintings were published.

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