Bal Thackeray prays for 'eccentric, adamant' Hussain

Bal Thackeray prays for 'eccentric, adamant' Hussain

However, Thackeray said he prayed that Allah give peace to the artist who passed away at the age of 95 in London Thursday morning. "Damage may have been caused to modern art due to Husain’s demise. However, he slipped while painting images of Hindu gods and goddesses," Thackeray, himself a well-known cartoonist, said in a statement here Thursday evening.

Parties like the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and other right-wing groups had targeted Husain and his depiction of Hindu gods and goddesses several times in the past.

Faced with death threats from Hindu fundamentalist elements over his series of nude paintings of Hindu goddesses, Husain left the country in 2006 and never returned.
"Husain handled his modern art well and he was happy in his field," Thackeray said.

In contrast, Thackeray’s estranged nephew and MNS chief Raj Thackeray paid rich tributes to Husain, calling him "a national asset" and said all controversies should end with his death. "Husain was a national asset. His contributions to the field of Indian art can never be ignored,” Raj Thackeray, who is also an artist and among the admirers of Hussain, told mediapersons here.

He urged that whatever controversies surrounded Hussain should be "buried" along with the artist and he should be given a resting place in India, his country of birth. He added that the artist, born in the pilgrim centre of Pandharpur in Maharashtra should be accorded due respect as his art flourished and gained international recognition from this state.

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