The discussion on barefoot artist Hussain’s abjuration of Indian citizenship deal with Artists love for his motherland and how painful the self exile. The artist absence from his own country cannot be dignified by the appellation ‘exile’ whether voluntary or imposed. He is only a fugitive from justice, afraid to face the consequences of deliberate painting of naked goddesses. This has made him punishable under Indian Penal Code for the offence of causing hurt to religious sentiments of the Hindus.. Indian penal code is neutral to the higher flights of artistic imagination and to the motion of total liberty for artistic expression .IPC draws a line of common sense of common people beyond which an artist or writer must not stray. Common sense will decide what is hurtful to an average person’s religious sentiments, Hussain knows that despite the kindly stance of a considerable part of the elite and of central government and other central authorities he is bound to be convicted for hurting religious sentiments. There is no way a man’s love for his country can be measured but if actions are any guide Hussain’s derisive and divisive doing are not of patriotic mintage.
Attempts have all along been made and are being made to justify the artists blasphemous pictures. The latest is an editorial piece in a daily in which the charge that the artist only targeted ‘HINDU’ pantheon for his erotic paintings was countered by arguing that pictures and paintings are contrary to Islamic tradition. If true this prohibition will also apply to drawings and paintings of goddesses whether clothed or naked. It is known that the artist has painted Mother Teresa and Fatima ,daughter of the Prophet fully clothed and in decent poses. It is known that the artist withdrew a film from cinema halls when a Muslim body objected to a line in the dialogue. When asked he said that as he was the producer he could do whatever he wished.
The excuses and arguments advanced are all bogus and false. But the Hindus have only themselves to blame. Till they learn to protest in the way Danish cartoons and Taslima’s writings were protested against in India , they would continue to be humiliated with impunity. It is sometimes necessary to descend to the level of those who have no notion of civilized values.