KING KANISHKA’S LAHORE IS NOT OUR LAHORE IN THE PUNJAB
IT IS IN THE FRONTIER NEAR HAZARA AND ITS REMAINS ARE STILL THERE
Mir Syed Bokhari has written extensively about it
The art of story telling is in our veins and we spin stories all the time. Few people bother about documentation and can relate anything to
anything. Such story tellers will tell you that Indians had already conquered America much before Columbus and that is why he named the citizens of America as Red Indians. Obviously there would be no documentation. America was inhabited by a number of people and civilizations before Columbus and that is a fact and that we believe when archaeologists dig remains and come up to conclusions. The Turkish Piri Reis map is a good example of research. Kufi inscription stones in Red Indian caves and tepees. All facts!
The name of Lahore is attached to many cities in the world. There is even a Lahore in the United States of America. But the Lahore we call Lahore is the Lahore we live in. The capital of the Punjab. The Lahore of King Kanishka is the Lahore in Gandhara area, or in the Frontier province. The mention of that Lahore is at many places and Mir Syed Bokhari has proven that even Al-Beruni mentions the Gandhara Lahore as Lahore. A book stands written with episodes of Lahore going back to centuries before Jesus Christ himself. In no ways is the Gandhara Lahore is related to the Lahore we live in, the Mahmoodpur of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi. We have written about it elsewhere.
The issue is merely political. Just after partition, a British scholar wrote a book about 5000 years of Pakistan and removed its Islamic content as essential. Till today the line is same,. Try to make people proud of heritage which is not there’s at all. That is why we differenciate between Geographical and Ideological realities. For a stalwart like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the Taj Mahal of Agra was not our heritage, but that of India. For us the Quran talks of ONE UMMA and according to that Umma we have one Ideological heritage and different areas interpret it in their own way. That is ijjtehad in all ways. But there is a similarity. A mosque looks like a mosque anywhere. No heritage of ours talk of dresses which are vulgar in nature. No statues to nurture and worship but to enjoy its aesthetics. This is a long discourse. We will take it up elsewhere. Pakistan is Ideology not geography at all. We write with the passions of our heart not because lobbies pay those to think in their terms, to question every achievement of Islam as false.
THE FIRST STUDENT AFTER THE DEATH OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI,
MS MARCELLA BEDFORD NESOM SIRHINDI AND 1978 HAPPENINGS
THE BARRIERS OF CROSS CULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION
We take many issues very seriously, and the death of M.A. Rahman Chughtai reminded us of the immense responsibility thrusted on our shoulders. Just a few days after the death of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, we printed our first handout. In it we assured the world not only of preserving, promoting and researching the Art of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, but also providing access of the Art to students and scholars from all over the world. Ms Marcella Bedford had applied to the Pak American Association for funding for her proposed research on Textiles and was working on that. I do not know who or how, but it was suggested to her that she changes her topic for research on M.A. Rahman Chughtai and his Art. The papers came in and they are in our archives. The first letter from her was on 12th October, 1976. Then Marcella Bedford came by aeroplane to the Lahore Airport and I was there to receive her. I was not able to see her alight from the plane but she was in the lounge fine. I brought her in my car to the premises of the museum and it was nearing our 1978 show of 17th January, in which Ms Tamara Talbot Rice from the United Kingdom was our Chief Guest. We provided her accommodation for stay at the museum itself. Everything was exciting.
All details are there in the museum, for we are very exact about our records. We did everything possible to provide to her, all her desired requirements, like books, magazines, newspapers, catalogues, images and what not? And of course interviews in a free atmosphere. She carried a professional camera and we would allow her to photograph her requirements but with a small tab in plastic of CMT, that is CHUGHTAI MUSEUM TRUST. If we look at the bibliography etc attached to her thesis, we will find reoccurred the tab of CMT tab everywhere.
People change. People waver. A diligent Marcella diversified and we pointed it out to her in the best of spirits. Having had access to so many things about Chughtai, she felt that she could proclaim herself as the end of it all. We pointed out that her understanding of Chughtai was based on cross cultural barriers. Many of her assertions were outright wrong and there was nothing wrong about telling her that. But ideas were okay when a person takes credit for that, but facts could not be tinkered in any way. For example somebody had translated a paragraph absolutely wrong for her, and based on that, she was making claims, which had no reality in fact. We all learn more with time and she was jumping in some ways about her conclusions about the artist. Obviously we knew more about Chughtai than her, for not were we Chughtai’s family, we had lived with the artist all our lives and we knew the spirit and Ideology of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. She was unwilling to accept that, so without any malice, our ways drifted apart. We have great regards for her efforts but if the efforts are doing injustice to the artist himself, it was our right to point it out.
A banker from Asian Development Bank brought her as help one day to the museum and I told him she had no concept of her assertion. Gladly he was a reasonable man, went back and came alone the next day. No harm done. So when auction houses start quoting her to me as well as people, who never had access to me, I point it out. We wish Marcella well but it is our foremost right to present facts as well as the interpretations of them. Ms Marcella Bedford came here after a quest for a thesis on Textiles. In Rawalpindi she saw a copy of Amal e Chughtai and felt enamoured with Chughtai Art. Thanks to Marcella for that. She was our first serious student on the Art of M.A. Rahman Chughtai at PHD level. We were excited then, we are excited even today. But the white man’s burden is enormous. Knowledge teaches you humility to know more, not arrogance in an way. We taught Marcella things about Chughtai Art, in no way, she ever taught us! These are points to remember. We wish her best of luck in life! There is no malice within us. A scholarly role is to present all versions, at least two opposing ones, for fairness in judgement. At times the dear lady looked so bewildered that she even presented an artist in her thesis WHO CLAIMED THAT CHUGHTAI WAS NEVER THE ARTIST AND HE WAS THE ACTUAL PAINTER WHO DID WORKS FOR THE ARTIST WHO LATER USED TO SIGN THE WORKS IN HIS OWN NAME. We could have died laughing at the idea or we would have lynched that man to a tree for ridiculous statements, but she took even that man seriously, knowing even by statistics it was an impossible statement. Yes we have so much more of her in our records. We will tell more. But one thing is sure. We welcomed her then, we welcome her now. We have nothing against her. We request her to analyze her statements so that nothing is left on record which will prove to be a childish assessment for the future. God be with her all the time!
THE THIRD PUBLICATION OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
VARIOUS EDITIONS OF CHUGHTAI’S PAINTINGS
MOST OF THEM OUT OF PRINT FROM A LONG TIME
The two publications, Murraqqa e Chughtai in 1928 and Naqash e Chughtai in 1935, brought a lot of fame for the artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai, both on National as well as International level. But both the first books had their origin in the Urdu language and there was required an English version for the world. After his tour of Europe in 1938, the artist came back with ideas to print a fresh book on his paintings, and it was done around 1939-40. The exact year possible cannot be determined for it is not printed on the book. The World war upset this publication and it is so rare, that hardly any one even knows about it. Even the Museum copy was obtained after a search of 37 years and it was found in the private library of a scholar of Peshawer.
The second edition was more widely distributed and can be found in old homes and old libraries but often not complete, with pictures torn by people over the times. The third edition was printed at the Print Printo Press (owned by the artist) in 1960 and went around, and sometimes copies do turn up, here and there. The final edition was printed later and is more found in the world.
All editions are different in some ways. Paintings got replaced with time, for the ownership changed in due course of the years. It is one book with a variety of printed works. But most of them are still same, with an Introduction by the lady of substance, Ms Razia Sirajuddin, wife of the famous Professor Sirajuddin, a friend of the artist. Dr James Cousen’s essay is in all editions.
Our effort is to acquaint people with the books of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. If you own one, do let us know. Some people talk about bringing new editions of Chughtai’s works. When the Government of Pakistan as well as the Provinces are zero interested in such projects, other publications get printed for political reasons and foreign funding to undo the Ideology of Pakistan. The books printed by M.A. Rahman Chughtai before partition were financial successes, but books printed after the birth of Pakistan, suffered financial losses for a variety of reasons. The cheating of publishing houses was also one of the main reasons. Book trade is a simple KICK BACKS trade like any other. No honest person can continue to indulge in it without suffering colossal losses. We pray for a corruption free Pakistan to usher in honest trading and living in the country.
THE BIGOTRY OF ORDHENDRA COOMAR GANGOLY ART CRITIC
DEBUNKED M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI IN ALL WAYS AS THREAT
A SINGLE NIGHTINGALE DOES NOT HERALD SPRING
The ingenuity of the Indian mind is beyond comprehension. When things go right, they take credit. When things go wrong they taker credit of be fooling everybody with fancy innovated reasons for the unknown. But documents remain. In fit of rage, they leave clues behind, which take over them, as truth bursts with full vigour.
O.C. Gangoly is a Bengali legend of Calcutta. In the stream of Art in Calcutta, his tentacles spread all over India, and he pioneered societies and magazines. The monumental work RUPAM edited by him for decades is a testimony of his contribution to the Bengali School of Art. A Christian Principal of Gujaranwala Mission High School, got intimate with drawing Master, Abdur Rahman Chughtai, and looking at his creations of 1916, volunteered to have them printed and published in Modern Review Calcutta. The first and second work of M.A. Rahman Chughtai got printed in January and February issues of Modern Review in 1917. It alerted the Bengal School and it riled up O.C. Gangoly. The first Exhibition held in Calcutta with Chughtai in it was in December 1921 and amongst the 71 contestants, and a total of 359 paintings, there were only two Muslim artists. One was Sami us Zama from Lucknow with one work, and the other was Abdur Rahman Chughtai with six works. The works of Chughtai were well received in Calcutta and it provoked the Bengal School in their own homes., A full fledged activation started to debunk Chughtai artist. When works used to be sent to Calcutta for the shows, the works got lost, were displaced or even exhibited (LACK OF SPACE IT WAS SAID) in the toilet rooms of the Exhibition Centers, where no one could see them.
O.C. Gangoly was competing as a painter too and went on record in saying that A SINGLE NIGHTINGALE DOES NOT HERALD SPRING. Simply for he hated Muslims, as well as anything associated with Punjab. Punjabis were in front of his eyes DANGARS (animals) and not fit for the civilized world. It provoked Chughtai Artist in saying that THIS SINGLE NIGHTINGALE WILL BRING SPRING INTO THE MUSLIM WORLD. At every turn Gangoly tried his best to bring down Chughtai. In decades of publication RUPAM could print the name of CHUGHTAI only once when LIONEL HEATH wrote about the Wembley show in 1924. He allowed reference to Chughtai no where else.
Figment of our imagination. sorry! Gangoly made the mistake of putting his venom down on paper and in sending it to Chughtai. That letter is a record of how the Bengal School treated Chughtai and our ART MORONS (under Indian hands) in Pakistan debunk Chughtai as a Student of Bengal School. Such statements are not only wrong, they are shameless in nature. For the Bengal School itself never claimed such a thing. Nor it ever could. For those interested in knowing more could request our book THE CHALLENGE OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI TO THE BENGAL SCHOOL OF ART.
A MEETING OF PROGRESSIVE INTELLECTUALS IN IQBALS LIFETIME
INTER COLLEGIATE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND PERVAIZ SAHIB
WITHIN THE LIFETIME OF DR ALLAMA IQBAL JANUARY 1938
The Iconic Dr Allama Iqbal like a shining star attracted the best of intellectuals in the region. Open minds worked on Iqballian themes and as Allama Iqbal himself, repulsed the reactionary forces of the Mullah syndrome. Today the Mullah is forced to talk to an extent in Iqballian terms but only as a form of hypocrisy. Iqballian ideas repulse the Mullah as well as the so called Seculars, both two sides of the same coin. In the lifetime of Dr Allama Iqbal an Inter collegiate Muslim Brotherhood was formed and each member did his dues in light of Iqballian ideas. One such person was Chaudary Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz, the bane of most Mullahs of the region.
According to Pervaiz Sahib himself, he was instructed by Dr Allama Iqbal himself, to carry out research on progressive Islamic ideas in the spirit of Ijtehad of the times. Pervaiz Sahib started contributing to Tolu Islam, which was started by Syed Nazeer Niazi in 1935. Later he himself took over Tolou Islam in 1938 and it is published to this day. An Inter collegiate Muslim brotherhood was formed in the life time of Dr Allama Iqbal and we present a photograph of its assembly on 9th January, 1938. Javad Iqbal is in it but the iconic Dr Iqbal himself cannot be seen, due to his illness. Missing persons like Dr Abdullah Chaghatai and Abdur Rahman Chughtai artist are not there, for both of them, were in Europe at that time.
I think such visual imagery is deliberately missing in the media to curb the renaissance spirit of Islam and to engender extremist views of the Seculars and the Mullahs, both two sides of the same coin.
Today as G.C.U, Government College is a phenomenal institution of Lahore. But like other things, it has increased at some levels, and gone down at other levels. The intellectual charisma it once generated is perhaps no more. Today we are familiar with its buildings like anything else, but few of us remember that it was once started from the Havelli of Raja Dhian Singh. We attach a photograph of it as it was in 1864.
Everybody has heard of Dr G.W. Leitner of Freiburg University, who was a professor pf Arabic and Mohammedan Law at Kings college, London. He was posted at this college as Principal, but for months could not come here. His big whiskers commanded respect like any other Nawab of that time.. Interestingly it was started with only 9 students as well as teachers who were perhaps around six in number. Many students even left afterwards not satisfied with the place, as the college followed the Calcutta Syllabi. The hostels were in the upper storey. Oriental College was in the vicinity too. The grave of the NAUGUZZA watched over these activities with a giant twinkle in his eyes. Knowledge was everything.