Painter MF Husain has asserted that he is still an Indian, “an original Indian”, and that being physically away from India will not take that away from him.
At the same time, he said, he was no longer a youth who had a physical need to be in India to be Indian.
Husain accepted honorary citizenship of Qatar last week.
He said he had no complaints about the Indian government.
“The government is doing its job. I am doing mine.”
In an interview to NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, the artist said, “If I were 40, I would have fought tooth and nail.”
He explained, “At 40, if I wanted to marry a daughter of a king, which was impossible, I wouldn’t have given up. I would have kidnapped her. But now that stage has passed.”
The artist said he was in India in spirit and that was sufficient for the present.
“I really fail to understand this physicality of an existence on which you are putting so much stress. I am not 20 years old that I need a house. I have passed that stage.”
Asked about citizenship and identity, Husain said, “Whether I paint in New York or Paris, I am an Indian painter… Qatar offered me the opportunity to complete my dream projects… It is impossible for me to work in India without disturbance.”
He said he had no grievances: “I don’t feel betrayed by anyone in India… A few people don’t understand modern art, that’s all… Art is always ahead of time.”