Renowned painter MF Husain on Thursday said he has not abandoned India and accepted Qatari citizenship because of "some technical reasons and artistic conveniences".
Talking to Malayalam channel Manorama News from Dubai, he said, "I have not abandoned India. Though I consider myself a world citizen, I am accepting Qatari citizenship because of some technical reasons and artistic conveniences."
Husain, who could not come to Kerala to receive the state government's Raja Ravi Varma Award conferred on him two years ago, said it was for the state government to remove legal obstacles in his way.
"If the Kerala government is serious about Raja Ravi Varma Award, it should try to remove the legal obstacles," Husain said when asked whether it was not time for him to come to Kerala to receive it.
Husain was chosen for Kerala's highest honour for artistic excellence, instituted in memory of the renowned Indian painter Varma, in 2008. But the government has not been able to present it to him since he has been living abroad.
When the artist's comments on the award were brought to his notice, Kerala Culture Minister M A Baby told PTI that the state government would explore the possibility of presenting the award to him.
He, however, said efforts by the Kerala government alone was not enough to remove the legal obstacles. The Centre should take steps to clear legal hurdles before the artist to enable him come to India, he said.