Maqbool Fida Hussain had courted both fame and controversies at the same time. He was India’s most celebrated Indian Contemporary artists who later became the most controversial artists of his time. M.F Hussain drew a lot of flak from various religious groups in India. In many of his paintings, he has depicted Hindu Gods and Goddesses naked and in compromising positions. He became more popular for the controversies he drew with his nude paintings.
A lot of his paintings showed Hindu deities in the nude. In his nude paintings, he had illustrated Goddess Durga in sexual union with a Tiger, Goddess Lakshmi sitting naked on Ganesh’s head, Naked Draupadi, Naked Saraswati, Naked Hanuman and Sita sitting on Raavan’s thigh, Naked Parvati and many such derogatory representations. For this he was criticized a lot by several Hindu groups in India. In fact, his house was attacked and all his artworks were damaged. The strange thing is that all these paintings were created somewhere in the 70’s but did not become controversial till 1996 when the pictures of these paintings were printed in a Magazine by Vichar Mimansa. Several complaints were filed against him thereafter.
Apart from painting the Hindi Gods in the nude, M.F Hussain had the audacity to portray ‘Mother India’ in the nude. In the painting titled “The Naked Bharat Mata”, he showed a naked woman on whom all the states of the country were written on various parts of her body. He also used drew the Ashok Chakra on the painting. He also drew a lot of flak for another painting of his that was titled the “Rape of India” where he represents a woman being raped, reflecting on how helpless and vulnerable India is. In the painting he shows a woman being straddled by a bull and a man pulling her blouse away. It was a painting that was dedicated to the Mumbai Blasts in 2008. In these paintings, he forgot that he was violating the law and hurting the pride of millions of patriotic Indians. Many of the Right-wing organizations opposed to this artistic perverseness and several more complaints were filed against him. He was reprimanded and was literally forced to leave the country.
Many have reprimanded him to be hypocritical in his works. On one hand, he paints the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and “Mother India” in the nude but on the other hand, he would paint Muslim women fully clothed. He apparently had a sick fascination to portray deities in erotic forms and associate them in sexual union with animals. Also he was chastised for displaying India in the most denigrated forms, especially during the terrorist attacks where he had to show compassion and pain, but instead chose to portray India in an insulting way.
For all of his nude paintings, he lived his later life in Qatar, and was offered the Qatar citizenship in 2010. He lived there as a citizen of Qatar and was supposed to paint a series of paintings to portray the culture of Qatar for the Qatar Royal Family. He was supposedly paid 1 million dollar for each painting.