Throughout Husain's multi decade artistic career, the artist has often been inspired by historical events that have transpired within his lifetime. These paintings depicting scenes of war, pestilence and famine, and injustice exemplify the artist's sensitivity towards the plight of the individual and the transcendance of artistic freedom to enact social change.
In 1989 students, intellectuals and workers took to the streets over concerns about inflation, corruption, and freedom of media and democracy, with participants generally critical of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Like many demonstrations it started off small: on the 17th and 18th of April 10,000 students took to the square in front of the Great Hall of the People, but it was not until June 4th that the rioters came to blows with the army. Husain has refered to this date in the upper left hand corner of the work by inscribing "Sunday June 4th 1989." Students trying to leave the square found themselves beaten by the waiting soldiers, and it was a national disaster under the eyes of the international press. Tiananmen Square is a fine example of Husain's artistic interpretation of a landmark historical event.
In the second part of the Tiananmen series it is fitting that Husain has chosen to portray a smashed bicycle - the same image used in an official Polish memorial of the disaster. Once again the date is inscribed onto the work. The student grasps at the wheel and is intertwined with the steel structure falling to earth. The predominant reds in both works stand for the communist regime that the students were fighting against as well as the blood shed on the day itself. The white figures of the rioting students are contrasted by the dark background.