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MF Husain was always an Indian citizen: Ambika Soni

June 9, 2011 - New Delhi

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has condoled the demise of Maqbool Fida Husain, saying the celebrated painter was always an Indian citizen and a creative genius.

"It is true that he was upset with the government on some issues and efforts were made by the government and NGOs to address those issues. As far as his citizenship is concerned, he gave solid reasons for shifting from India but never stopped loving the country," Soni told reporters here.

"Always an Indian citizen and creative genius. There may have been issues, which may have concerned him. But as far as the government is concerned, he was always an eminent and respected personality," she added.

Responding to a question on why Husain was not allowed to enter India, Ambika Soni said: "His artworks have been displayed with great interest for the viewing public, so I don't think what you are asking is the reality. It's unfortunate that some narrow-minded people tried to judge his creativity and artistic works."

Meanwhile, the Congress Party expressed their deep condolences to Husain's family, saying he represented the resurgence of Indian art and his death was a tremendous loss to art.

"We would certainly like to condole and offer our sincere condolences to the family of M. F. Husain. The passing of M. F. Husain is a tremendous loss to the country because he represented, I think, the resurgence of Indian art and he took India to, the entire country to great heights in the world of art all over the world," said Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan

"In his death, we have lost a major artist, tremendous loss to the world of art and culture and to the entire terrain of Indian and international art," she added.

Natarajan further said the government had no point in stopping the celebrated painter from coming to India.

"The government had no point in stopping Husain from coming. It is unfortunate that the communal forces best exemplified by the Shiv Sena and the Bajrang Dal made his life so miserable that he felt insecure to come back to the country of his birth," said Natarajan.

"But I am sure that till his last breath he lived and breathed for India, and his art exemplified the best for our country's heritage," she added.

M F Husain, who earned both fame and wrath for his paintings, breathed his last at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London early this morning.

Husain was popularly known as MF and regarded as 'Picasso of India'.


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