First Published: 2010-02-25

 
Acclaimed Indian artist awarded Qatari citizenship
 

M.F. Husain 'honoured by Qatar nationality' as he lives in exile after Hindu death threats.

 

Middle East Online

Hindu extremists offered a 11.5-million-dollar reward for his death

NEW DELHI - Acclaimed Indian artist M.F. Husain, who went into voluntary exile after getting death threats from Hindu extremist, was granted Qatari citizenship this week, a report said Thursday.

The 94-year-old Muslim painter was bestowed nationality by the emirate's royal family without applying for it, The Hindu newspaper reported.

The paper printed a sketch it said it had received from Husain, including the hand-written words that he had been "honoured by Qatar nationality".

Husain has split his time between Dubai and London since 2006, after Hindu fundamentalists intensified a violent campaign against his paintings of Hindu deities in the nude or in sexually suggestive positions.

The protests against Husain's work began in the 1990s and he estimates Hindu groups have filed around 900 court cases against him.

He has been unable to visit India for fears of facing legal action and threats to his life, but has spoken of his longing to return to his homeland.

Obtaining Qatari nationality could mean that Husain renounces his Indian passport, because New Delhi does not allow dual citizenship.

In 2007, the Indian capital hosted its first major exhibition of Husain's work for nearly 20 years, which was disrupted by activists of the right-wing Hindu political party Shiv Sena.

In 2006, an extremist Hindu outfit offered an 11.5-million-dollar reward for his death, and radical activists have disrupted auctions of Husain's work.

Husain is one of India's wealthiest painters, with some of his original signed paintings selling for more than one million dollars at auctions in London.

 

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