February 27, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Not counting the not-so-discreet feelers from sections of the Indian government, the BJP and the Left parties to get him back after years of exile, India’s artiste-extraordinaire M.F Husain’s headed on Friday from his adopted home Dubai to Qatar to accept the country’s kind offer of an honorary citizenship.
Husain’s son filmmaker-writer-painter Owais Husain who straddles Dubai and Mumbai spoke for his exiled father on Friday afternoon from Dubai. “Yes, he has left for Qatar where he was warmly received by a large welcoming committee. I was supposed to accompany him from here in Dubai to Qatar. But at the last minute I couldn’t go. He traveled alone, as he has all his life, to his new home. My father has definitely accepted their offer. After years of being away from his real home (in India) this sense of belonging, albeit in an adopted country, was I think, very important at this stage of his life.”
Owais in Dubai seemed unaware of the sudden interest in India to get the artiste back. “Do they really want him back now? Isn’t it a bit late? My father has been a nomad all his life. But he has been rendered homeless in recent years. He stayed close to me in Dubai and I tried to make him feel at home. But I had my own work too. I know he missed home in India terribly,” says Owais who is in the process of completing a documentary chronicling his father’s amazing story.
Says Owais, “I’ve titled it Letters To My Son About My Father. My son is 4 years old. When he grows up he should know what a luminous legacy he has to uphold. My father is older than Modern Independent India. As a child he struggled to make ends meet. During British India he painted slogans against the rulers. In Independent India he painted pictures that sold for astronomical sums of money. He didn’t plan any of this. He didn’t he plan his exile in Dubai and now his citizenship in Qatar.”
In Qatar, reveals Owais, Husain Saab has big plans which include a new feature film. Says the proud and emotional son, “I plan to fly down to Qatar and we will be discussing projects together. I don’t know how to end my documentary on my father. There’re no full stops to his life. His life has been charted by destiny.”
As Husain Saab makes Qatar his adopted home during his final years his son says, “He will continue to miss his real home wherever he is. You can take M.F Husain out of India. But you can’t take India out of M F Husain.”
-Subhash K Jha/ Sampurn Wire