Nick Cohen on the persecution of M.F. Husain
Hindu militants have attacked his home and galleries showing his work. For almost a decade, India's censorship laws, which allow the prosecution of anyone who threatens communal harmony, aided and abetted them. Far from promoting a happily diverse multicultural society, the laws of what is nominally the world's largest democracy have allowed extremist Hindus to compete with extremist Muslims in tit-for-tat censorship campaigns. Unwittingly, the old man has become a player in the modern game of manufacturing offence. Sectarian politicians have used him to keep their supporters in a useful state of religious fury, a splenetic condition that delivers many votes to unscrupulous operators at election time.
His religion is the only reason why Husain is a target, incidentally: no other explanation makes sense. He was born into a Muslim family in Maharashtra in 1913, and his career as a self-taught artist began under the Raj. . .