India is my soul, I still love the country: Husain

India is my soul, I still love the country: Husain

Thiruvananthapuram: Renowned painter M F Husain, who has accepted Qatar nationality, feels that the attack against him by right wing outfits in India that forced him into exile for 12 years was targetted at art and self-expression rather than his Muslim identity.

“I have not intended to denigrate or hurt the beliefs of anyone through my art. I only give expression to the instincts from my soul," the 95 year-old painter said in an interview to Malayalam daily ‘Madhyamam’ from Qatar capital Doha.

Husain said it was with “deep pain" in his heart that he was giving up Indian citizenship. “India is my soul. But the country has rejected me," he said.

“India is my motherland and I can never hate the country. But the political leadership, artists and intellectuals kept silent when Sangh Parivar forces attacked me. How can I live there in such a situation?" he asked.

Husain said he knew that 90% of Indians loved him and a small minority, including a handful of politicians were the only people who were opposed to him.

“I am happy that there are people in all parts of the world who love me," he said.

He said successive governments in India had failed to ensure protection to him during repeated threats from right wing extremists.

“For politicians, only votes are important. No government had called me back to India till now. They are inviting me when another country offered me citizenship. How can I trust the political leadership now," Husain said.