He is 95 and Awesome

Posted by sepoy on March 09, 2010 · 3 mins read

Javed Akhtar on M. F. Hussain's Rights, Sunday, Mar 07, 2010:

Javed Akhtar: You know, please allow me to digress a little. Till now we are talking about the Hindu fanatics and the Hindu fundamentalists. Now, we are talking about the Muslim fundamentalists. And their resemblance and similarities is uncanny. It reminds me, you know, some four hundred and fifty years back when Tulsidas wrote Ram Charit Manas in Awadhi, he was disowned by the Brahmin community and he had become an outcast. They were upset with him that how can he write a story like Ramayana in a language like Awadhi?

Such an ordinary, common man's language. It is an insult to Ramayana and some two hundred years back, in the same very city Delhi, Shah Abdul Kadir, a gentleman, for the first time, translated Quran in Urdu in 1798 and all the Ulemas of that time gave the fatwa against him that how dare he translate Quran in such a heathen and such a perverse language. So, you see that these people, their minds function in the same way. People who are against Husain are a mirror image of the people who are against Taslima Nasreen.

Full transcript of MF Husain's interview with Burkha Dutt, Wednesday March 3, 2010:

Barkha Dutt: You're 95, in your twilight year, usually people want to return home, people need a sense of home much more than other stages of life.

MF Husain: I really, I fail to understand this physicality of an existence on which you are putting so much stress on. I am not 20 years old that I need a house; I have passed that stage. When you're young you're always ready to pounce on anything, like a prey you jump on it. As they say, first you accumulate, jise bhog kehte hain, now this is the time when you say: Neti neti neti...not this; not this.

This is the time to eliminate everything and come to zero, this is what I am trying though I have not reached that point. Only saints can do that.

Barkha Dutt: You said had you been forty you would have fought tooth and nail. Why don't you fight today? Why did you stop fighting?

MF Husain: Haan, that is true but that stage is gone. At 40, if I wanted to marry a daughter of a king - which was impossible, I would not have given up; I would have kidnapped her. But now that stage has passed.


lapata | March 09, 2010

Once I saw MF Husain in a video store in Khan Market. He was barefoot and holding an enormous paintbrush like a scepter. He was there to buy a VCR, and the way he had chosen to select which model to buy was to watch his videotape of the movie he had made of Madhuri Dixit walking with a jug on her head, symbolizing the ideal of Indian womanhood.

Qalandar | March 09, 2010

Tying this into the blog's recent translation discussions -- very nicely done.

sepoy | March 09, 2010

We aim to please, sir.

Quizman | March 09, 2010

Javed Akhtar had made a very very similar speech in 2005. Does he have a template? :-)

Qalandar | March 10, 2010

Quizman: guess he doesn't need much variety when the bigots don't vary their script much...

gaddeswarup | March 10, 2010

Somewhat off topic. Qatar ranks slightly better than India in the gender gap index: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/rankings2007.pdf

Nikolai | March 31, 2010

"At 40, if I wanted to marry a daughter of a king — which was impossible, I would not have given up; I would have kidnapped her. But now that stage has passed." Inspiring. Now I know how to pick up princesses. Never give up guys!