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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Indore hamlet remembers the master's strokes

Padma Shastri and Saeed Khan, Hindustan Times  Indore, June 09, 2011
First Published: 23:54 IST(9/6/2011) | Last Updated: 23:56 IST(9/6/2011)

When news of MF Husain's death flashed on Thursday, it was business as usual in the congested Ushaganj locality here, where he spent his childhood, but there were a few families for whom the day brought indelible memories.

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"A son of a timekeeper made it big. This still motivates me," said Bhanwarlal Joshi, 75, whose milk shop is situated opposite the old rented house where Husain lived with his family.

Joshi was referring to the painter's father, Fida Husain, who was a timekeeper at Malwa Mills, which closed down some years ago.

Walk into the dilapidated house, its owner and Husain's friend Abdul Latif Khan, 70, says it is the same house from where MF Husain began to paint.

"He would paint sitting in the gallery on the first floor," he recalled.

"He gifted paintings to my children whenever he came to meet us. He would ask them to preserve his paintings. But we didn't understand then. It was 25 years ago," Latif Khan's wife Malika Shahin said.

Indore, especially Ushaganj, remained his first love till his last visit in February 2005.

"He wasn't dramatic about it but his love for Indore was deep within. One could feel it," said historian Rajendra Singh, adding Husain mostly talked about the city, its people and culture whenever they met.

Though Husain left Indore in his teens, his relatives, about 30 of them, still live in the city.

"People talk of his idiosyncrasies but he was down to earth," said his first cousin Mushtaq Ali, 60, a hosiery trader. Have they any special memories of their famous cousin?

"He was in search of a mother. He lost his mother early," Ali said.


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