Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Husain: Brush with Bigotry


By Badri Raina

First things first, O departed
emperor of zest and  bare-footed laughter:
it was not the brainless bigots
who exiled you, but we
who claim patent on sanity.
Unlike your so resplendent going,
we have been dead several times over
from fear, trembling, and sensible doing.
Thus, knowing better, it was foolish
of you to be disappointed with us.
But now that we are safe from you,
‘civil society’ will surely shout
for a monument  where our wares
we may profitably pursue.

O Alexander of the art world,
like him you passed in exile
with work in hand;
like him, in genius and in folly,
you were always grand.
He soaked Grecian nectars
at Aristotle’s feet;
you became the best of Hindus
from lifelong love of the street.
Those that made Socrates choose
hemlock were not Greek;
those that lost you home
were not Hindus.
Thus, on your flying horse
the Greeks called Pegasus
you soar,  but with eye still
on the wicked world,
that, with brush still in hand,
you wish to paint some more.

We hear you laugh, O bearded
Betaal of wise innoncence,
and we say, do not mourn, but
paint all you can from gut to gut.
The truth of Husain’s exile
deserves nothing but.

 June9, 2011

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