I’m not into icons and idols. Yet there are human beings and human deeds that make me want to jump higher, fight harder and live to the fullest.
India (or part of it) is appalled by Sherlyn Chopra – the first Indian to model nude for Playboy magazine. But this is not what drew my attention. It was her words „if total freedom comes with the perceived notion of being a whore, then so be it”.
I find him truly iconic as in:
– Hard working: mastered Arabic calligraphy as a small boy and painted right up until two weeks before his death in London at the age of 95.
– Convention defying: a nude Hindu goddess for one thing.
– Bitterness-free: In spite of being dejected by his co-nationals he never showed any resentment towards his homeland. “What has happened with me is a small thing. We remain a free country,” he told an interviewer in 2010.
– World-beautifying: Left an enduring legacy, while embracing all forms of beauty and colour around him and keeping at heart his essence – India’s streets and culture. Whereever he painted in New York, Paris or Qatar, he remained an Indian artist (inspired by Sudha G Tilak is a Delhi-based writer on art and culture, http://www.bbc.co.uk)
Whether or not he and his work were regarded as a powerful symbol of India or the World was none of his concern. He just lived his life to the brim.