The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Husain falls for ‘mother’ Mayavati’s magic

Lucknow, Feb. 17: Maqbool Fida Husain says he is searching for the mother he lost young and in the course of the search, his sight has now turned to Mayavati.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister “is a beautiful woman” and “I would love to make her portrait”, the renowned painter-filmmaker said after meeting Mayavati on Sunday.

The controversial artist acknowledged his obsession with women. “For me it’s a search for the mother I lost even before I could imprint her face in my memory,” he said.

So what impressed him the most about Mayavati' “Every thing. She symbolised strength, knowledge and compassion,” Husain said.

The artist, of course, hasn’t forgotten his all-time obsession: Madhuri Dixit. “I intend making another film with Madhuri. This time a comedy.”

During his two-day stay here, Husain painted a dancing girl and a horse in shades of cobalt blue, mustard, vermilion and black and gifted it to the state Lalit Kala Akademi.

Though renowned for his paintings, Husain said his obsession with films was not yet over. “Cinema is only an extension of my creativity. It’s the most complete medium for this age as it combines adab, mausiqi and fine arts in a near-perfect amalgam.”

After attending the release of his autobiography by vocalist Girija Devi, Husain took time off to savour Lucknow’s popular chaat and inaugurated an artists’ camp. He visited the Residency to pay homage to the martyrs of the 1857 war of Independence.

Nothing, however, could overshadow his impressions of Mayavati. “I found her very pretty. She has a sensitive face that reflects grit, compassion and understanding,” Husain said. He gifted the chief minister a painting of Lord Buddha with an elephant.

“Your gift will be one of my most precious possessions,” said Mayavati, as impressed with Husain as he was with her. The elephant, she said, was the Bahujan Samaj Party’s symbol and Lord Buddha is considered a saviour of Dalits.

Husain so impressed her that Mayavati issued a government order to henceforth serve tea and other beverages in kullad (earthen cups) at all government functions. Husain had asked for tea in a kullad.

Mayavati sent back the crockery and shared tea with the artist in the earthen cups.

P.L. Punia, principal secretary to the chief minister, said: “All the department heads, including the Secretariat administration, have been asked not to use plastic cups and glasses for serving beverages at government functions but use kullads (instead)”.

According to Punia, the government would like to extend the ban on plastic cups and glasses to restaurants and dhabas.

Husain, touched by Mayavati’s decision, said: “It only confirms my first impression of Mayavati. There is a beautiful mind working inside that beautiful woman.”

The artist hailed Mayavati as “an eco-friendly chief minister” and said he hoped the move would help the kumhar (potters) community whose earnings have been affected by the emergence of the polypack industry.

Husain also offered to do for Uttar Pradesh what he has been doing for Kerala: work as a cultural ambassador and highlight its tourism potential.

“I will do for Uttar Pradesh what I am doing for Kerala at present. This state has great variety in food, culture, etiquette and language. All these qualities have to be showcased,” Husain said.

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