Row over M.
F. Husain hits
New York office of the art auction house, Christie's, rejected
demands to withdraw the work of controversial Indian artist, M. F.
F. Husain's "Battle of Ganga and Jamuna:
Mahabharata 12 (Lot 57)", a painting from the Hindu epic executed
in 1971-1972, went under the hammer for a whopping $1.6 million, setting
a world record at Christie's Southeast Asia and Contemporary Indian art
sale on March 20.
Estimated at $600,0000-800,000 the work sold to an
anonymous bidder for $1.6 million. Husain's monumental work, a large
diptych, was made in the apex of his career and is a part of a series of
27 paintings he began for the 11th Sao Paolo Biennial.
The painting depicts a scene of the ancient Hindu epic "Mahabharata",
detailing the cosmic civil war between forces of right and wrong.
Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Indian American
Intellectuals Forum jointly staged a noisy protest demonstration in
front of Christie’s Art Gallery in
New York on March 20th against M. F. Husain for painting Hindu Gods and
Goddesses in lewd, and extremely vulgar sexual positions.
Husain, by faith is a Muslim. But his target is always Hindu.
It is unfathomable to comprehend as to what on earth prompts him
to paint only Hindu Gods and Goddesses in a bawdy form, questioned Mr.
Arish Sahani, Vice President of the Forum.
One of the protester asked:
“If Husain believes in the artistic freedom, in that case why
has he never painted founders of other faiths in nude?”
The protesters shouted slogans and carried banners
saying: “M.F. Husain –
Shame, Shame”, “Down with – M.F. Husain”, “Boycott -
Christie’s” “Husain is - Insane”, etc.
The protesters blamed Christie’s for aiding and
abetting hate crimes against Hindu people by exhibiting Hindu Gods and
Goddesses, adored and
worshipped by one sixth of humanity
on earth, in a despicable form.
Earlier, in a letter addressed to Christie’s,
Narain Kataria, President of Indian American Intellectuals Forum, a New
York based group, had expressed his group’s outrage and anguish
against the unacceptable and uncivilized behavior of Husain, in the
“Six courts have issued arrest warrants against
him. More than 28,000
people have signed a petition condemning Mr. Husain for his malicious
attempts to vilify Hindu people. 1250
police complaints have been filed against him.
In several cities his effigies have been burnt.
In nutshell, he is a criminal and a fugitive from justice.
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“Indian Parliament has condemned Husain squarely
for painting nude pictures of Mother India.
By his insidious actions, he has deeply hurt the sentiments of
more than one billion Hindus all over the globe.”
“We believe, it is unbecoming on the part of
Christie’s, a reputable Art Gallery, to associate with a person
of criminal background, and promote his paintings.”
The Forum President, Narain
Kataria, also sent
a power point presentation to Christie’s, highlighting “Husain’s
deliberate distortion and degradation of Hindu culture”.
have accused Husain of painting Hindu gods and goddesses in a ''derogatory
and vulgar'' form. 'Respect all religions' is their advice to him.
year police in India's financial capital Mumbai (Bombay) began legal
proceedings to seize property belonging to Mr Husain.
order came after he failed to attend hearings in a court regarding an
obscenity case filed against him. Mr
Husain is now thought to be living in the Middle East.
say that his paintings are much sought after and some have been
auctioned for millions of dollars.
He has even made two
Bollywood films, although both bombed at the box office.