Leading artists today welcomed the conferment of Qatar nationality on M F Husain, who has been living in self-imposed exile abroad for nearly four years following a spate of legal cases in the country over his controversial paintings of Hindu goddesses.
"That's a great honour for him," painter Anjoli Ila Menon said, describing 95-year-old Husain as a "true Karma Yogi".
Referring to the controversy over his work, she said all that the government had do to was assure security to him.
Noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal said he would not blame Husain if he accepts Qatar's nationality as he has been treated "so shabbily in our country."
He is a living treasure and certainly the most celebrated Indian contemporary artist, Benegal said.
News about the Qatar nationality for the legendary artist was reported by 'The Hindu', which printed five lines written by Husain above a line sketch of a horse, his trademark.
"I, the Indian-origin painter M F Husain, at 95, have been honoured by Qatar nationality," wrote the painter, who shuttles between London and Dubai in exile.
Husain went in exile after a hate campaign was launched against him in 2006 over his controversial paintings.
Several cases were filed against him by people protesting his portrayal of Hindu goddesses in the nude. His house in India was attacked and art works vandalised by the fundamentalists.