Barefoot Across the Nation: Maqbool Fida Husain and the Idea of India



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This book is the first inter-disciplinary engagement with the work of Maqbool Fida Hussain, arguably India’s most iconic contemporary artist, whose life and work are intimately entangled with the career of independent India as a democratic, secular and multi-ethnic nation.

The 13 articles in this volume critically examine the artistic statement that Hussain has presented on the self, community and nation through his oeuvre. It engages with the controversies that have erupted around and about Hussain’s work, and situates them in debates around the freedom of the artist versus the sentiment of the community, between ‘virtue’ and ‘obscenity,’ between an ‘elite’ of intellectuals and the ‘common man,’ and between a ‘work of art’ and a ‘religious icon.’ Correspondingly it considers how India has responded to Hussain: with affection, admiration and adulation on the one hand, and hostility and rejection on the other.​

Contributors: Susan S. Bean/ Veena Das/ David Gilmartin/ Tapati Guha-Thakurta/ Kajri Jain/ Ananya Jahanara Kabir/ Monica Juneja/ Geeta Kapur/ Bruce B. Lawrence/ Barbara D. Metcalf/ Ram Rahman/ Sumathi Ramaswamy/ Patricia Uberoi/ Karin Zitzewitz

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