The Husain Hypocrisy

So I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time; just haven’t had the opportunity.

The death of Maqbool Fiza Husain, aged 97- one of India’s most prolific and famous artists.

The newspapers these past few days have been full of all these people talking about how they knew the man, and how great and amazing he was etc. Almost everyone who knew him- from socialite Shobhaa De to some obscure painter has mentioned his absolute affection and desire for his country. And how we cruelly prevented him from enjoying whatever little the country that he brought to the international art scene could give him. They all described him as vivacious, zealous and generally a nice man to have known. But all that is irrelevant to what this post is about.

They (the newspapers, that is) have also printed some of the reactions of the people of the Indian government.
Most of them are behaving predictably- mumbling incoherently about being ashamed but shamelessly praising him in the next breath- perhaps to save face?
It’s perfectly understandable if this type of reaction comes from the UPA government- One, they’re centrally inclined, so none of the blame for the Hindu-hullabaloo can be pinned on them and secondly, they were the the ruling party when Husain left on his self-imposed exile- so naturally they’re all repetant.

What however, is infuriating and hypocritical beyond belief is when someone like Raj Thakeray goes on record to praise Husain and lament his loss. Isn’t it a tad bit contrary and shameless for him to that?

And it isn’t just him. It’s the whole idea in itself.
What kind of people must we be that we shunned this man, threatened him and as good as threw him out of country- only because he’s Muslim?
What grave crime did he commit by painting nude women, or caricaturing one of our politicians? Don’t we have thousand of nude deities in Khajuraho to account for our “Hindu culture”? Why do we find it so easy to forget that and act like such stupid, reckless, opinionated, narrow-minded people?

It’s just infuriating. And bring great shame to me. Why can’t we change? Why must we be bogged down by a tiny fraction of our society that refuses to grow up, that is hanging on to an archaic belief that violates the spirit of our Constitution?

Why can’t we do something to honour the man who made his country proud inspite of everything, who made India proud?