Kolkatans protest over Centre's failure to protect Maqbool Fida Husain

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Kolkata, Mar 14 (ANI): Painters and intellectuals staged a demonstration in Kolkata criticizing the Central Government for its failure to protect noted exiled painter Maqbool Fida Husain, who has now accepted Qatar citizenship. rtists addressed locals and they signed and wrote solidarity messages on a huge screen erected by the roadside.

The community said the incident had attacked the freedom of expression of an individual and bruised India's image as a tolerant society.

"We want Husain to remain a part of India, we want him. And we want the government of India to take some steps towards it. We cannot let this happen. This is shame, this is absolute shame," said Anindita Sarbadhikari, a member of the Tuneer cultural organization.

Husain has been forced to lead an exiled life in Dubai and London ever since certain Hindu radicals posed a threat to his life as a mark of protest against his depiction of certain Hindu goddess on the canvas that they claimed as vulgar.

Consequent to such hate campaign against him, the 95-year-old artist had sought refuge in Dubai and usually shuttled between the Middle East and London since 2006.

Over a decade ago, some Hindu radicals had even attacked this famed barefoot artist's home at Byculla in Mumbai.

Husain, who faces several court cases back home related to defaming Hindu Gods and Goddesses, last month reportedly, accepted the citizenship of Qatar.

Husain began his career by painting billboards and publicity posters for feature films and making furniture designs and toys, to earn a living.

He rose to fame in 1948 when discovered by a modern art group and since then there has been no looking back.

Husain, whose paintings fetch the highest bids in India, has dealt with a variety of theme ranging from mythology, religion and various aspects of life as such.

One of his paintings titled 'Lightening' was reportedly sold for 2 million rupees in the international market and amazingly, Husain despite being a millionaire moves around barefooted.

Besides painting, Husain had also dabbled in producing feature films and one of them was 'Through the Eyes of a Painter' that fetched him a Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1967 and 'Gajagamini' in 2000.

However, his rise as a public figure has been controversial ever since he depicted and compared the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Hindu Goddess Durga.

This was further complicated with the artist facing flak after he painted another Indian Goddess in the nude. (ANI)

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