A ONE MAN SHOW OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI IN LONDON 1966 COMMONWEALTH INSTITUTE ATTEMPTED SABOTAGE BY INSIDERS
Field Marshal Ayub Khan was very fond of artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai and inaugurated many of his paintings show. A visit of the President of Pakistan was planned in London and the reception at the Commonwealth Institute to be attended by the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II herself. President Ayub Khan proposed a Chughtai’s show at the London venue, to be attended by himself as well as the Queen. This was supposed to be on 24th November, 1966, as everybody new.,
There were people in the concerned Ministry, who held resentment for President Ayub Khan. And similarly they did not like the Art of Chughtai to receive host of publicity in western art circles. Order of Ayub Khan could not be circumvented, but a trick was played by administration. President Ayub was to attend a function at the same place and the Chughtai show was to be at the Commonwealth Institute on 24th November, 1966. At the last moment a change of plans was made and the show was scheduled from 15th December 1966 to 8th January, 1967. S.K. Dehlavi the Pakistan Ambassador knew all this well and told me many stories when I was in Bonn, Germany in 1976. A lot of state secrets were told to me.
In any case the Show was held and although well attended, did not please the artist and he reprimanded concerned, that a place like London, has the capacity for lakhs of visitors, and the attendance was below normal. However the case is on record and we rarely even hear about it from imbecile and jealous art commentators here. We give you a glimpse of same.
A PRINCESS WITH WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE AT HER OWN DOOR STEPS
THE AMAZING INTELLECT OF ZEBUNNISA DAUGHTER OF ALAMGEER
Leaving the world of bigoted locals and farangi bazaar gossips (with dirty filthy minds), there are Muslim writers who have done justice to their job. However much of these books are not available and out of sight of most people. One is a small biography of Princess Zebunnisa done by Munshi Abdur Rahman “Shauk” Amritsari, who relies on Muslim sources of historical importance. Quoting many things attached to the Princess, but one statement is extremely new, and worthy of note.
Zebunnisa was obviously getting the best of education, collected one of the finest libraries in Hindustan, and had various scholars write treatises on subjects with which she was not very familiar. One subject which intrigued her was of Astronomy and study of Stars. It is evident that manuscripts on Stars were collected by her. The details of a book on poetic balancing, written at her request by Imamuddin Riazi, son of Lutufullah Muhandis is well known. Imamuddin Riazi also enjoyed some official position at the court. In a bayaz collected by her of various poets, she has included verses of Lutufullah Muhandis. Imamuddin Riazi at court would have told her many things abut the stars too. Lutufullah Muhandis translate the epic Star book of Abdur Rahman Sufi, the original copy at Aligarh University.
One day Zebunnisa was sitting with her teachers, an elderly lady, who wanted to ask her about the Stars. The teacher herself was stupefied and talking about the Stars. The lady said she has read about many things but never about astronomy. She said you have read a lot about stars, so at what distance are they from earth. Do people reside on these stars? They look so small from far, but what are they actually? Zebunnisa said to her teacher I am certainly not in a position to tell you the exact distance of the stars from earth but can assure you that there is another world there, and certainly in another world life must be there. Allah must have created lakhs of things on those surfaces. Certainly living things must be there. She said that according to astronomy if in a single breath we travel 186000 miles then we can reach the stars in 3500 years. The teacher went into a stupor but could say nothing to the Princess. The answer given by Zebunnisa was both based on knowledge and intellect. And a well deserved answer. The intellectual freaks of today cannot equal the rationality mixed with tenets of DEEN of the past.
“WHAT IS ART WITHOUT THE STRIKING POWER OF THE MOSES STAFF!” THE GAME OF LOBBIES STARTED FROM DAY ONE, MEDIA IMPOTENCE,TO CAPTURE THE SPIRIT OF THE NATION. TAHIR LAHOOTI ALWAYS FREE.
The vision of Hazrat Umar (blessings) and the harassment of people opposed to Ideology, started the charade of defusing clear cut images of life. Vested interests knew that Hazrat Umar (blessings) will never allow mutilation of the Islamic vision, and so by plan he was assassinated and removed from the scene. The second aim was that according to the Caliph, the Quran alone was enough for the Muslims, so subterfuge was created, with ideas which were not in the Quran. The game continues to this day and is forever. But here we are concerned with Art and art alone. Art that consolidates and gives a clear vision to the people is aimed to be contained by counter narrative. It started very early and still very much in practice. Thinkers who could clear this are mostly gone, and never patronized by the holders of the other narrative. Perhaps a few hundred, maybe even a thousand people all over Pakistan, are given incentives through money and influence, to subjugate this vision. They are wasting their time. Even a beautiful woman siting in her home or in a brothel means different things.
Dr Allama Iqbal said few things about Art, and one poetic statement means a lot of things for us: “O Wise one! It is well to have thirst for knowledge,But what is in art that faileth to grasp the reality of things.The object of all art is to attain the warmth of life immortal,What availeth a spasm or two that vanish like a spark!Without a miracle nations cannot rise-What is art without the striking power of the Moses staff!” Art in the past, whether Western or otherwise Hindu was always for religious sake. On one hand Islamic Art was truly Art for Art sake, but it had a function too. In the quest for personality development in life, Art aimed at enhancing the sensibilities of human kind. The aim of Islamic art was that humankind oppressed with vicissitudes of life, comes near Art to replenish itself from the hardships of life. To cool the nerves of issues of life to refresh ones vigour. A young baby grasps the nipple of the mother’s breast to replenish its energy. The grown human being catches hold of the sensibilities of music, drama, and the fine arts to save itself from loss of vision of development and progress. Art and aesthetics consolidates the nation. The artists role is divine in shaping up the nation towards tomorrow. P.S. We will add more. People who seek inspiration from messages of anarchy, unrest, and negative content.
ART COLLECTIONS WORLD CARRY UNIDENTIFIED BEHZAD LAHORI NO ONE WILLING TO GIVE CREDIT TO LAHORE AND ITS PAINTERS
A quick scan of books on Islamic art and here and there we come across the signature Behzad. The work of Kamaluddin Behzad is easily recognizable, but the other Behzad is dismissed as a forgery or false attribution. And this is not the case at all., Here we are talking about Behzad Lahori son of Khawaja Abdul Samad, who moved from Kabul to Lahore at the invitation of Emperor Humayoun and served Emperor Akbar and others. If we just open our prejudiced eyes, we can see this on our own, easily.
Take for instance the work SEATED ARTIST. Scholars agree that this painting is around 1600 AD and it has both Safavid and Mughal feelings to its creation. Mughal yes, obviously. The year 892 AH comes to 1486 AD which cannot be so. The numerals 89 are clear, the third symbol is not. Artists at times mention their age when doing paintings. Even Kamaluddin Behzad has mentioned a painting which he created at 70 years of age. It would be a great achievement of Behzad Lahori if he created this work at the age of 89 years. We just do not know. Why not mention that Behzad is from Lahore? Stuart Cary Welch agreed with me when he came here in 1981 to our show. Scholar Ebadollah Bahari also knows same. Painter Razia Feroze has written a monumental book on Behzad, and we hope some day it can be published. Till then clarify in books. We do so all the time. Read other too:
The news is everywhere of the conversion of the V logger Canadian lady Rosie Gabrielle and everybody happy over the incident. Well done Rosie! And perhaps people are missing an important point. She is holding in her hand a copy of the MEANING OF THE QURAN by Muhammed Asad. Real congratulations to her and the soul of Muhammed Asad. In his work Muhammed Asad transliterates (not translation merely) (yes, mahfoom) that this copy is for the thinking person.
Muhammed Asad himself converted to Islam, and so much impressed Quaid e Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, that the Quaid appointed him as an adviser and put him in the charge of the DEPARTMENT OF ISLAMIC RECONSTRUCTION, after going through his magazine the ARAFAT. The work of Allama Asad as well as Allama G.A. Pervez broke the shackles of perversion of ignorant minds. People will try to detract you Rosie from the path of truth. Hold on to the banner of ONE ISLAM without any sectarian or group issues. When you recite the Kalma, the Quran is enough for you, as vouched by Hazrat Umar (Blessings) himself. Well done!
THE CLAY MOULDING MASTERS OF LAHORE THE MIND BOGGLING DRAWING AESTHETICS
Lahore surprises us with clay figurines of exceptional talent. Certainly these were not meant for mere children, and their price and value would be totally different. We hear of COGOO GHORAS of Lahore. But those were simple clay models, repeated endlessly, without any real aesthetic value. But on other hand we come across figurines of exceptional merit, certainly done by Masters in their trade, as well as the drawing by equally important Masters. The subjects of such Ustads are endless. We have so many different ones and each one surprises us with their intensity of being moulded from clay. Clay must be exceptional too, by being hard as well as having capacity for nice detailing.
We present here a broken figurine of a tall man, very slim, with a bird on his shoulders. He is wearing a cap of some nature. Some writing perhaps on it too. What kind of a bird it is? Falcon, parrot, or some other species, and for what purposes? We hear of bird hunters and we try to guess that it is a figure of a bird hunter. Is the bird on his shoulder a decoy, companion, or a bird hunter too! One can only do guess work. The man has an exceptional face, nothing in routine or otherwise. A tall man with a bent back is indeed excellent perception. Did he exist or is it from mere Imagination? No one knows, but one can enjoy as an art observer, the detailing of a Clay Master of Lahore. Broken arms could have told us more things, or even legs. Maybe it was part of a bigger sculpture. One can only guess. But still enjoy!
ENIGMA OF BASQUE COUNTRY PEOPLE WITH AN ISOLATED CULTURE,
YES, DIFFERENT DNA, LANGUAGE AND YET WITH ISLAMIC INFLUENCE.
The ancient history of Basque people is still under research. Islam had spread over in Spain as well as parts of France, so it was natural that this county, between thee two countries, would receive Islamic influence in one way or the other. A dress code different from Europe was there in the 16th century and there is pictorial record of it. In any case research work starts from a little inkling and spreads else where. People with intact ancient language and different DNA, blood grouping is worthy of research, and it is being done. Researchers say:
“With their distinct genetic make-up and ancient language, the origin of
people from the Basque Country in northern Spain and southern France has long been an enigma. Previously thought to be a population of unmixed hunter-gatherers that survived the influx of farmers from the Middle East around 6,000 years ago, new genetic evidence suggests that things aren’t quite so clear-cut.
Instead, it appears that the Basques’ closest ancestors are early Iberian farmers who were descended from that first wave of Neolithic farmers, which then mixed with the local hunter-gatherers. The researchers think that the Basque people’s unique characteristics survived in isolation as, after this first initial mingling of hunter-gatherers and farmers, the Basque people became separated from subsequent waves of farmers, first from the East then from the South, and continued instead to mix further with the local hunter-gatherers.’
Probably the influence was there in Lahore from Turkish influx, but the Xavier could have brought it fresh from Basque itself.
The medieval state took form around the city of Pamplona during the first centuries of the Iberian Reconquista. The kingdom has its origins in the conflict in the buffer region between the Frankish kingCharlemagne and the Umayyad Emirate that controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula. The city of Pamplona was located amid a predominantly Basque-speaking area. In an event traditionally dated to 824, Íñigo Arista was elected or declared ruler of the area around Pamplona in opposition to Frankish expansion into the region, originally as vassal to the Córdoba Emirate. This polity evolved into the Kingdom of Pamplona. In the first quarter of the 10th century the Kingdom was able to assert itself.’
If one notices the said introduction means that Navarre was a Basque country, and its origin lies with the Umayyad empire, and was a vassal state to Cordoba Islamic Spain. And this takes us to the start of the relation between Basque and Lahore. The founders of Navarre included Ignace de Loyola and Francois Xavier. The third mission of converting Asia to Christianity started from Navarre and the grand nephew of Francois Xavier, that is Jerome Xavier, who stayed in Lahore from 1595 to 1598, and like his predecessors two missions, they too miserably failed to convert Emperor Akbar. Akbar was a full of fun and fond of political gimmicks and he enjoyed giving the impression of being convinced for conversion. But at the last moment he would decline same much to the chagrin of the missionaries. He did allow construction of the first church in Lahore. But he died a Muslim, and recited the Kalma before his death, as recorded by his own son, Nurudddin Jahangeer in his diary Tuzuk.
But here our emphasis is different. We notice some cultural connections between Basque county and Lahore. Recovered heads of figurines from Lahore show costumes which are very much Islamic in nature and direct resemblance to the Basque costumes found in history. Compare yourself and there is amazing similarities in same. Basque female costumes for any European country are truly amazing like our own costumes. Probably the origin for Basque and Lahore in form of costumes is same and need to be researched in total. If one looks at the 16th century Basque costumes, they look like the Burqas of our elderly women of yesterday.
Memories are short but not that short to tear pages from history books. The efforts of a group of Punjabi writers and poets decided to promote the Urdu Language. Obviously they wrote so well that it incurred jealousy amongst others. Particularly the lobbies in UP were against the fame gained by these Urdu writers. M.A. Rahman Chughtai consolidated them all through his designs as well as publications. For two years Chughtai took out the prestigious Art Annual Karawan from Lahore from his residence in Chabuk Sawaran, through his Jahangeer Book Club. So well received in Urdu circles but was difficult to maintain due to financial reasons. All these people you see tried their best to do this and were supported by Sufi Ghulam Tabbassum too, who was another honourable member. Probably there were others too, including the younger brother of the artist, Abdur Raheem Chughtai.
The group was so successful that in reality the adoption of Urdu language was also a result of their efforts. This was endorsed by Quaid e Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan. It had history. Urdu language was a product of request of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. A meeting was in progress under Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and many people were seated there. The list included Khawaja Hassan Sanjari, Khawaja Saeed Muhammed, Khawaja Saeed Mussavi, Khawaja Syed Rafiuddin Haroon, and Har Dev, along with his three relatives, Sumbal Dev, Chanel Dev, and Sunil Dev. Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia was of view that a language issue in addressing people of Hindustan was occurring, and it had to be resolved with a new communication tool. We have to devise a language which mixes local language with language of Muslims that Is Persian, and Turkish. Already inter exchange of words are taking place and people are familiar with same. And to teach this language I have written a small booklet by name of KHALIQ BARI. I want that a system of new language should be started and it should be call Hinduvta. But so that people can really know it, I want Amir Khusro to compose songs in same, so that not only people can talk and read it, but can also sing songs in it, so that it really becomes common with use. As Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia lived between 1238 AD to 1325 AD, so the birth of Urdu started in the 13th to 14th century. The language has a history of about 700 years and was avidly used in Hyderabad Deccan.
The British knew that to deflower the Islamic Ideology, the language was to be removed from the minds of people. Quaid e Azam knew that to promote Unity in Pakistan, one language was the requirement of the times. The crisis of Bengali language was master minded and the lovely Bengali people fooled into riots. The result is obvious to us all. The lament of the creation of Brown Sahibs has evaporated with advent of those who wanted to obliterate it. But Pakistan will rise. Do not be taken into this hybrid war. Our Ideology is intact and cunning low moral people cannot silence truth forever. Pakistan forever!
It all started with the painting of the Sistine Madonna by Raphael in 1512 and the depiction of two young chubby boys as little angels. When Raphael was painting the Madonna the children of his model would come in to watch. Struck by their posture as they did, the story goes, he added them to the painting exactly as he saw them. Another story says that Raphael rather was inspired by two children he encountered on the street when he saw them “looking wistfully into the window of a baker’s shop”. It caught on in Western art.
“In the Book of Ezekiel and Christian icons, the cherub is depicted as having two pairs of wings, and four faces: that of a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle . Their legs were straight, the soles of their feet like the hooves of a bull, gleaming like polished brass. Later tradition ascribes to them a variety of physical appearances. In Western Christian tradition, cherubim have become associated with the putto, resulting in depictions of cherubim as small, plump, winged boys.”
From such diverse imagery, plump boys, as Cupid shooting arrows for revelry. Cherubs started appearing everywhere. But the craze was set in the time of Queen Victoria as images in that period are Victorian Cherubs. And most of them are acting as Cupid with bow and arrows to strike the heart of lovers in revelry mood. These kind of silly chubby boys had no appeal for Mughals, neither the Emperors nor the public. To belittle the Mughal aesthetics, a lot of fakes were being created by the British in Bombay by the firm of Guzdar in the quest to appeal to the Western buyer. M.A. Rahman Chughtai the descendant of the Mughals, knew all this and pointed it out again and again. A worthy read is his book on the same.
The Saint Petersburg album contains assortment of works with fakes. Take the work of Bichiter, this painter had never seen a work of Bichiter to know his style. Input of Englishman, floating beard, and Cherubs to please a western audience. In some of these fakes even the Persian language genealogical tree was written in wrong direction. Even Stuart Cary Welch could see the 19th century border on the work, which is usually hidden from public view. A slap on Mughal portraiture and aesthetics, the work is refused to be judged by western analyst as fake. For a simple pigment test can tell us everything, but no on wants to belittle oneself by telling us that their eyes were closed on their previous judgements. These cherub are even introduced on actual works to belittle judgement. Complexes have started rage against history and facts. Feelings cannot be over turned by rationality. The core of hearts is disheartened by feelings of inferiority. Sad indeed! One should learn to appreciate anything of value and all civilizations have something of value. Their voices in art and culture must be heard by non biased persons.
A point worthy of note is that the group of local painters in Lahore Fort was noted by Van Orlich in 1842, on the pay roll of Maharajah Sher Singh. These people were traditional painters and known as Gumti Bazaar painters. A lot is known and written about them. But the most interesting part is that this group was led by Ustad Allah Baksh, son of Mian Izzat Baksh, who was a tall handsome man, always dressed in royal regalia and often called as the King of Delhi, even by the British residents. In British times he was In charge of all the paintings and naqashis done in the Lahore Fort, and that includes the period of John and Lena Login, and this group of painters is mentioned in the line of Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was getting work done from them. We will add more with time, but till then read Lena Login in Lahore Fort again in 1849:
Lena Login reports same:
“He has painters constantly employed near him at his work, which he watches with the deepest interest, and himself tries to draw and paint a little. I want you to send me out for him, a nice paint-box and material for his use, and a good book of instructions in the art of drawing and painting, till I can get him good lessons.”
Satisfying Duleep Singh was the requirement of that time.