Temple town recalls hero's visit

  • Yogesh Joshi, Hindustan Times, Pune/Pandharpur
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  • Updated: Jun 10, 2011 00:00 IST

There is nothing left of 115-year-old Zariwada - a chawl-like residential structure - but the land on which it once is witness to the birth of one of India's greatest artists.

MF Husain was born on September 17, 1915, at Zariwada at Kalika square in Pandharpur, the religious centre 386 km east of Mumbai.

Husain's parents, Fida and Zunaib, were small-time lantern traders. Three years after Husain was born, when Zunaib passed away, Fida decided to shift to Indore.

Zariwada, which was predominantly Muslim, has changed. All the Muslim families have shifted and none of Husain's relatives live there anymore.

For Pandharpur, the wait for its beloved artist ended on November 23, 1995, when he visited it to receive the Pandhari Bhushan award presented by Yuvak Biradari, a local organisation.

"It was Husain's first and last visit to the town after his family migrated," said 86-year-old Muhammad Shah.

Husain managed to charm Pandharpur during his visit. After receiving the award, he visited the famous Vitthal-Rukhmai temple. On locals' requests, he sketched actress Madhuri Dixit on a cow.

"We were mesmerised by the ease with which Husain painted," said Siddharth Dhawale, a member of Yuvak Biradari.

Husain also sketched two paintings on paper of Lord Ganesha and Lord Vitthal, both of which were bought by a local politician for Rs 3 lakh.

Husain also visited his old, one-room house. Around 10 years ago, Zariwada was demolished to make way for a multi-storey structure.


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