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The next day (January 31) Hindustan Times quoted Husain as saying: ?I am shocked and hurt at the misinformation. I smell some mischief here. Not only did the Aaj Tak channel report that the painting was mine, they also showed a painting along with the report, which was of Madhuri'sdone in 1995…? Shri Husain should not sound all that virtuous. Has he, or hasn'the, drawn some extremely objectionable paintings of Hindu gods in the past? Is he aware of a volume entitled Husain which was published for private circulation by a certain well-known company of impeccable credentials way back in 1988 that carried reproductions of those objectionable paintings?
The volume, incidentally, had been conceived and designed by Husain himself. That volume is not available to the general public and it makes one feel ashamed even to mention the name of the publisher. Those who want to see reproduction of some of the paintings of which Husain should be ashamed of himself can do no better than get a copy of Anti-Hindus written by Praful Goradia and K.R. Phanda (Contemporary Target, Rs 495) where the reproductions can be seen in colour. They reveal Husain in his true colours and frankly, they are disgusting.
This columnist does not want to describe the paintings but those interested in truth and decency should avail themselves of a copy of Anti-Hindus before they rush to the defence of our millionaire artist. Incidentally, Husain'svolume of paintings has its text written by Dr Daniel Herwitz, of California State University and carries a foreword by the chairman of a major steel company. The question that needs to be asked is: why is there so much hypocrisy? Why can'tour artists leave well alone?
But to get back to the new Hindustan Times in its new avatar the Sports page has been placed right in the middle of the paper for easy accessing and carries Geoff Boycott as a columnist.
The paper promises attractive supplements such as HT Premiere every Thursday that deals with movies and movie stars. Even the business page has been attended to, to make it ?more corporeal and global?. The competition is primarily between Hindustan Times and The Times of India. One can be assured that the latter will now gird its loins and indulge in similar physical activities to meet the challenge offered it by its arch rival. And one can be fully assured that the battle will be over who will reproduce sexy pictures to draw the attention of the reader. News wise the new Hindustan Times is lagging far behind. The emphasis is on entertainment, and that, too, of the most impermissible kind, and not on education.
As for information, the best that Hindustan Times (January 30) could give was on whom to date. The reader is told what happens when one dates Indian, American, Japanese, Malay, Chinese and Hong Kong women the first, second and third times. With provision of such class information, how can one not afford to get Hindustan Times?
Our newspaper proprietors have strange ideas of their role in life and their responsibilities as news disseminators. But, one supposes, they are only being ?contemporary?.
The idea is to provide ?information? sans much backgrounding, to please the palates of readers who only want to know what has happened without being enlightened as to why something happened.