After a life filled with vibrant women, colours and controversy, MF Husain was given a quiet and religious burial in a leafy Surrey cemetery by a small group of family, friends and admirers on Friday.
On a day peppered with rain and sunshine, the simple and unadorned coffin bearing the tall body of the painter was lowered into a grave in the Brookwood cemetery in Woking, some 25 km from London.
Prayers from the Koran were read out to the grieving group, which included his sons Shamshad, Mustafa, Owais and Rafat and daughter Raisa.
Husain, contemporary India’s greatest artist, died of a heart attack in London on Thursday at the age of 95.
Hours before the burial, the last rites of the man known as the Picasso of India were performed in a small Shia mosque in Tooting, south London, filled with around 100 people.
The mosque was also the closest to the Suleimanyas, the Shia sect to which Husain, a devout Muslim, belonged. As his body lay wrapped in a white sheet in the coffin, his sons sat around, reading prayers from the Koran.
The day’s rituals were filled with poignant moments. Some visitors stood and bowed low. Writer Shobaa De, a longtime admirer, knelt down by his feet. Others simply hugged each other and wept.
It was a sombre farewell to a flamboyant man.