Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Qatar: Artist MF Husain trades Indian passport for Qatari one

The Internet is abuzz with news that controversial Indian artist MF Husain, 95, has accepted a rare offer of citizenship from Qatar, a tiny conservative country in the Arabian Gulf.

“I, the Indian origin painter M.F. Husain at 95, have been honoured by Qatar nationality,” the artist wrote in a sketch published by the widely read English-language Indian daily The Hindu, which broke the news.

Husain, arguably one of India’s greatest painters, has been working in Qatar on a project involving the history of Arab civilization at the behest of the country’s first lady, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Misned.

The conferment of citizenship has surprised many as Husain faces numerous obscenity charges in his home country, which he left in 2006 after nude paintings of Hindu deities he produced in the 1970s were brought to light, spurring protests, vandalism and threats.

On Twitter, @Iveegee said:

This is bizarre news. What does Qatar stand to gain from giving him citizenship?

N. Ram, a journalist for The Hindu, called the development “an honour to Mr. Husain, to his artistic genius, and to the India-rooted civilisational values he represents. Nevertheless, it is a sad day for India.

On the popular online forum Qatar Living, the news generated 116 comments before the site was shut down for maintenance over the weekend.

Some applauded Qatar, a Muslim monarchy's support of artistic freedom, while others wondered where India, a secular democracy, went wrong.

Commenter Landcruiser_Qatar said:

Very talented person and crappy countrymen running hate campaign. Hats off to MF Hussain.

Thoufy said:

is this democracy….?????? is this democracy….?????? Very Shame to our country…

Husain's exile from India is admittedly self-imposed, and Indian politicians are saying he is free to come and go as he pleases.

However, as dual citizenship is not possible in his home country, Husain will have to give up his Indian passport to become a Qatari.

In India, Twitterati have been responding to the news with a steady stream of messages, ranging from penitent to petulant.

@gurgaonharyana said:

m f hussain accepts qatar citizenship.big loss for india.we r such jerks.

@gulpanag said:

So Hussein accepts Qatar citizenship.Well,if his country of origin cannot guarantee his safety/wellbeing,he does have a case.

@rajizm said:

if he so couregeous let him paint some muslim painting in qatar nude and u will see he is dead next moment

What kind of freedom of expression Husain will be afforded in Qatar remains to be seen.

Qatar Living commenter heero_yuy2 said:

I hope he won't have a hard time florishing his artistry here if we still even have some trouble on media freedom around here.

And svelte_saggi said:

Anytime that religion has been represented as art in a derogatory manner,it has ended in chaos.

21 comments

  • Hemanth

    Understand the nudity on the sculptures and temples are to let you concentrate on the deity you’re about to see and worship. They are not the idols of god or goddess. It is such a complex way of making you put in the right groove of meditation. You try to condition yourself to the ultimate goal of realization. The very deep essence of hindu religion preaches not to hurt anybody -manasa-vacha-karmana. He must have hurt the faith and feelings of millions. The wrong doer is destined to breath the punishment – Whther he goes to Qatar or anywhere in the world (universe) he may face the curse. Because of his wrong doing for his age and experience which are most unapt.

  • fatima

    no arabian gulf, persian gulf for ever
    do not forget it

  • xyz1231

    One, should respect the country of living. Especially in a republic nation he should respect the feelings of other religion, community, etc……….

    Some thing wrong with such a aged and papulor old man.

    As a popular painter, he made lots of money. But he lost the image.

  • aftab hussain

    hi,friends…..i am from bangalore(india)
    some of the idiots have quoted here that,we can find nude potraits or sculptures of hindu gods on the temples in khajuraho…..but let me tel you,even i have visited khajuraho…..but the nude sculptures are not of there gods!!!

    people like you speak about freedom of expression(in the case of mf hussain),
    –but what about “tasleema nasreen”???what about salman rushdee???why dont the qatar government gives citizenship to them????

    blooddy mf hussain…shame on your part,you dont deserve to be a muslim!!!

  • […] 02-03-10 Qatar: Artist MF Husain trades Indian passport for Qatari one […]

  • Ganesan

    Brother Aftab is correct; and I’ve a lot of friends across religions, including Islam, who share this. First in a demoracy responsibility comes before right – all have responsibility not to hurt others and then the freedom to express. MFH cannot hide under “creative artistic” etc. and do whatever he wants. Its a loss for MFH to lose citizenship of a great country the largest demoracy. No question of considering dual citizenship who voluntarily disregarded his citizenship disgracing the Mother India. Jai Hind.

  • An artist is a person who thinks beyond imagination. But one should also learn to put a restriction on himself. keeping in mind the custom and culture followed..
    India has always welcomed god talent from overseas.. enemies everywhere.. So, MF Hussain should think again over it.

  • xyz1231

    i appreciate brother Aftab’s comments. Keep in mind, we indians are differ in religions, languages, culture, even in food habbits. But we all stand unity as indian by respecting each other and their freedom. Brother’s Aftab’s expression is a best example. MF Hussain shoud proud of indian instead of changing his citizenship. Where ever he go or live, maintaining his limit will help him to avoid one more exile.
    Jai hinthusthani…… Bharat Matha ki jai….

  • musthafa

    very shame that hussain miss to us he is only good indian not like godsay. you know godsay is kill our mahtmagangi hussain not kill any one evcery one have freedem why need onlly hidusiam nevertf happend this i ask why our congress goverment affraid hinusiam we cannot afrraid hinusiam that is why we choose cogress why congress afraid hinusiam india is all nation not only hidu there is muslim there is cristain there is budh there is all other cast not only hindu

    • rohan

      mustafa saying is correct as long as MFH does the work with the same enthusiasm for islam. think how much it will hurt the muslims, he will not be able to survive a single day, his family in total would perish. he was lucky he was in india and a secular where the people so patient. let him not make the same mistake in the country in exile.

  • musthafa

    one man missing very sad world is looking indian government what dierty doing no one accept this me iam india never affraid any one icant do why should i affraid some one and any party never has to been because i choose goverment can do what is there mistake to fase but we miss hussain really sad our goverment affraid some body what we can do think that india not only for hindus there is muslim also

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site