Indian govt hard at work to end painter’s exile

NEW DELHIl:India’s renowned painter Maqbool Fida Hussein, who has been living in self-exile since 2006, may be able to come home by the end of this year or early next year as the Indian government is contemplating to create conducive conditions for his return to the country.

As per local news reports, quoting Indian Home Ministry sources, the government was contemplating of the measures that would enable the artist to come home as soon as possible.

Hussein, 94, fled India in

2006 after some of his paintings were vandalised. Some people filed lawsuits against the painter for “depicting Hindu deities

in bad light”.

Hundreds of police complaints are also believed to have been filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party cadres across the country.

There were reports of some Hindu groups putting bounties on his head.

The government’s expected overtures towards the nonagenarian artist has come at a time when Hussein’s painting has fetched him a staggering $5,82,500.

His lawyer Akhil Sibal said that charges against his clients were frivolous, vexous and legally not sustainable and his client would welcome government’s any

decision that would create conducive condition for him to return home.

Sibal said the Delhi High Court had already quashed four out of seven cases filed against the artist in 2008 and 2009. But three other cases have been lingering on


According to Sibal, the controversy against Hussein should have been over three years ago, when it all started because the artist had already said he had high respect for all faiths and if his works hurt anybody’s sentiment he was ready to apologise.

Sibal said that the Delhi High Court’s landmark decision held that there was nothing in Hussein’s painting that would offend Hindus and the sexual depictions were also a part of the Indian history and culture. Hussein, the leading painter in the country, has not been able to showcase his work for the two years in the Indian Art Summit, according to Sibal.

The Indian Art Summit is a prestigious event known for a true portrayal of the nation’s rich and diverse art and culture.

“If somebody puts a bounty on an artist’s head, then the government cannot remain a mute spectator. It should send out a strong message,” he added.

Sibal had moved a case in the Supreme Court, stating that Hussein was largely a victim of

harassment and asked the court to transfer all cases filed against him under one court so that the disposal of the cases could be expedited.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs officials declined to comment.