Monday, April 26, 2010

MF Hussain's hand analysis

Reading MF Hussain's hands was more difficult than I imagined. He is a man with many layers to his personality. MF Hussain's paintings are world famous but there has always been some kind of controversy attached to his name.

Regarding his hand, usually, there is some consistency in the length of the phalanges of the different fingers, but in Hussain’s case, there isn’t. This points to inconsistent character traits.

The world knows him as a talented painter, and this talent is evident in his hand. A mix of different qualities has enabled him to be successful in the world of art. His vivid imagination
MF Hussain artist
and creative talent is evident from his hand. 

Hussain had a long Apollo (ring) finger, and longer than normal, long first and second phalanges of this finger. He also had a long, well-shaped headline which plunges in a graceful curve into the Mount of Moon. His hand was also large, and apparently supple (as opposed to stiff), the quadrangle (space between the head and heart lines) was spacious, and the thumb, low-set.

The finger knots (seen on the back of the hand) were very well-developed, and the lines on his palm were long and clear. The Mercury (little) finger was long, although the first phalange was not very long, not for this finger. The fingers were not slim, however, and were in fact a little broad and the third phalanges of the fingers were long. The Jupiter (index) finger was a little bent. 

Unfortunately the photo I had linked to when I wrote this post, is not available anymore, the only decent photo of his hand I found on the net. I have it savedm but cannot post it here due to copyright reasons. Thus the reader will have to make do with this photo of MF Hussain's right hand here and the left hand here. He was right-handed of course, so his left hand will only show the inherited or subconscious qualities. 

Besides the exceptional talent shown on his hand, his great ambition to be in the public eye and to be famous is also seen. He had a flexible and open mind, a very liberal outlook and he was also very cool-headed, and a thinker. His hand also shows attention to detail which would mean in observing life around him, and he also had a curious inquiring mind.

He was able to channel his superb ability and imagination into a money-making career and this is also clear on his hand. The business sense is present. His ability to market himself and an understanding of what was needed to please his audience...this is evident. However, he did go too far, because he angered right-wing Hindu groups because he painted Hindu goddesses in the nude. 

His mental agility and skill, shrewdness and ability to judge human nature is also seen on the hand, but his verbal expression was limited. Perhaps that is why he could never really manage the PR.

MF Hussain was extremely talented, but his hand does not show genius. His talent was not of the cerebral kind, the genius kind. This does not take away from his brilliance.

Day-to-day life and money mattered to him. Religiosity is not shown on his hand. When it comes to his work, his hand shows practicality and a remarkable lack of idealism.

A lot of people feel that he was anti-national because he painted Hindu (Indian) goddesses in the nude. The truth is that his hand shows that he did not revere anyone or anything. All that he cared about was work and where that was going to get him. It is unlikely that he felt too terrible about giving up his Indian citizenship as he would see himself as a global citizen. If he had feelings for India it must be because of memories, and if he missed India, it must be more to do with missing his routine and friends. As his work was of utmost importance to him, he would go anywhere where he could work in peace.

And no, he would never offend Islam because he was too smart for that. When he drew Hindu goddesses in a manner that offended people in India he was probably taken aback at the virulent reaction. He must have thought he could get away with it. He would have, a few decades back. India has changed.

He had the ability to adjust to changing circumstances amazingly quickly.

One great thing seen on his hand is that despite his very strong desire for money and fame, he had a philanthropic streak.

He was likely a difficult person to get along with. He was a little controlling, and stubborn, with a strong will.

In conclusion, one can say that MF Hussain had an excellent hand which showed unusual ability but it was not a typical artist’s hand. He saw issues from a realistic, worldly perspective. Perhaps that is why he became a successful money-making artist. He did not let his ideals get in the way of his work.

(This post was edited in December 2022 and Apr 24)

(MF Hussain was an internationally known painter who was Indian until January 2010. He became a citizen of Qatar and passed away in 2011. He was 95 years old. The photograph is taken from his website).

Find out more about Indian celebrities from Bollywood and read about Indian businesspeople and Indian Spiritual Leaders.


  1. Nice post. I tend to agree that he's not a genius. In fact, I find him filmy and Bollywoodish with all the controversies surrounding him.Also true that he has produced some good work and is very talented.

  2. One of the reasons I wanted to read MF Hussain's hands is because I was curious as to why he painted Hindu deities in the nude. I wondered if it was malicious, hypocritical or something along those lines. After reading his hands I realised that he does not revere any deity, of any religion. He is simply an artist. But he is a survivor too, and that is why he did not do the same to Islam. I guess some would call it hypocrisy, but it can also be interpreted as someone who doesn't really care. Not that I like this quality about him. I think artists of all people should be sensitive. But again there are those who feel that artists shouldn't care about feelings of others and should paint whatever inspires them.

    1. He did offend Islam when certain groups of Muslims created an objection to a song in the movie Meenakshi: A Tale of Three Cities. Please refer to for more details.

  3. He is very old, so I am sure you had an interesting time reading his hand..
    He would have got away with it, half a century back, because people were less sensitive?

  4. Yes less sensitive and more important, this political "Hindu" fervour did not exist. Remember, Hinduism is a very tolerant religion and we even accept atheists in our religion. However the 21st century has brought with it some right wingers who feel they will get some political benefit by whipping up anger about some religious issue. To threaten Hussain with bodily harm is appalling and a disservice to our great religion. If people's sentiments were hurt, they could have started a peaceful campaign against him, exhorted people not to buy his paintings, and so many other ways.

  5. In my opinion he isn't a true artist if he viewed art as a business or a way to make money. However, that is how the art scene is structured and its not going to change any time soon. So in that context he succeeded.

  6. purpler, well, it isn't as if he is mercenary and I hope my post doesn't sound like that. What I meant was that he has a practical view of life and does want to make a good living.

  7. Incredible you mind doing one on any famous English writer please?

  8. Uptill now I have not read the hand of any author and I really want to. I have been collecting hands of several authors, but have not been satisfied with the quality of photos. Lets see, in the future I will definitely do so.


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