A HINDU FRIEND OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
RAVISHANKAR RAVAL THE ARTIST FROM GUJARAT
The name of M.A. Rahman Chughtai swept over Hindustan and where there was opposition, there was also abundant love from other persons. Ravishankar Rawal, the famous artist from Bhavnagar Gujarat was eager to meet Chughtai the artist. A visit happened to Chughtais home in Lahore, and it was in June, 1939. Rawal Sahib made a sketch of Chughtai asrtist there and then, and it was Chughtai who signed it both in English and Urdu. This happened on 28th June, 1939, at the new residence of the artist.
“Ravishankar Raval was born on 1 August 1892 in Bhavnagar (now in Gujarat, India). His father Mahashanakar Raval was an officer in the British Communication Service. He spent his childhood in several towns as his father was transferred from one place to another. He wrote that he inherited his artistic instincts from his mother. He graduated from high school in 1909. During his first university year, at the local Arts College, his principal asked him to paint the stage sets for the college drama festival. He advised him to join arts by his Parsi professor Sanjana who was pleased with his artistic skills. Against his fathers non-approval, he joined Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay. He was trained under Cecil Burns, the principal of J. J. School.”
Bombay had no issue with Chughtai Sahib and the art of Chughtai was exhibited in Bombay many times and many collectors there collected Chughtai Art. One can only wonder if the sketch exists at anyplace. Obviously Chughtai presented his works to Rawal Sahib. Two civilizations sharing Art generate peace for each other. But one thing new happened. Rawal Sahib left the old realistic School and joined the Indian Art movement and it was perhaps Chughtai Art which brought him there.
GERMAN AMBASSADOR DR KLAUS TERFLOTH COMES CALLING
THE ART SHOW AT THE GERMAN EMBASSY IN ISLAMABAD
M.A. Rahman Chughtai was fascinated with Germany. The image of Germany in national environment was wonderful. Two World wars and Germany annihilated but recovered with determination and inner energy. Everybody appreciated that. The artist had seen Germany in 1932 as well as in 1938. He had met German artists, and intellectuals. he was always impressed with them. After partition Germans showed great interest in Chughtai Art. Dr Klaus Mehnert, the Professor at Columbia University was a good friend. So were many others. German diplomats called at Chughtai Home all the time.
The death of M.A. Rahman Chughtai on 17th January, 1975, was condoled by the German President, Walter Scheel. I visited Bonn and presented a painting to President Walter Scheel in 1976, where he gave us a State Reception. So it was natural that diplomat Rozini, the Cultural Attache at the German Embassy to call on us. He had written a book on our culture. Dr Klaus Terfloth visit followed, who came along with his lovely daughter. Ambassador wanted to take this interest much further. An exhibition show was planned in Bonn itself. As a step forward to it, a show of Chughtai Art was arranged at the German Embassy, and on special request, we allowed the exhibition to be without glass cover (a big concession from our part). I could not say NO to their request, and the show namely UNKNOWN CHUGHTAI was held at the Embassy. The exuberance from the Germans was tremendous and Dr Klaus Terfloth gave the opening address and said, “I HEARD ABOUT CHUGHTAI LONG BEFORE I HEARD ABOUT PAKISTAN”. It sent shock waves amongst the listeners and the sinister lobby led by nincompoops of Pakistan tried their best to sabotage the show. The Federal Minister for Culture was there and it was visited by around five Pakistanis, some has gone from Lahore to sabotage the proceedings. The next day the newspaper carried a news item written by a real Mir Jaffer, who was on active pay roll of the lobby. The German Ambassador was heart broken but I could see the reason behind all that. He was shocked that journalists in Pakistan could stoop so low.
Dr Klaus Terfloth hosted a dinner for me at the Embassy and the ruling Elite of Islamabad were invited to the show, including the Minister for Culture as well as various bureaucrats., Agha Nasir of PTV was also there. It was Zia ul Haque’s time and his Islamic revolution. Drinks were flowing all around, and people were having their fill with FREE ALCOHOL, the most desired concept in Pakistan, which is MUFT KEE SHARAB QAZI KO BE HILAL, which literally means free alcohol is legitimate for even the Islamic Judge. A couple of Waiters would come again and again in front of my group (myself and two companions from Lahore) and offer same to us. We would politely refuse and take an orange drink now and then. All of them started chatting with each other and then one finally came forward and said. It is all right to drink here, no one will look, no one will mind, no one will see. We said it is haram in our way of life and we do not partake haram, and Nobody may see or not, Allah sees everywhere., They were further perturbed, and said all those who were there had notions about enforcing Islam in the country. Is it a mere hypocrisy on their part! It was not possible to satisfy them.
We carry the banner of Pakistan. We are happy about it. We appreciate Germans interest in Chughtai Art all the time.
ALLAH THE AL-MUSSAWAR HAS MADE BEAUTY UNIVERSAL
THE BEAUTY OF PAKISTAN LIES IN ITS IDEA OF INCEPTION
The Holy Quran starts with Al-Hamd or simply that “Praise be to Allah who created so much proportions in the universe”. In a process of Evolution and Revolution, the cosmos are all beautiful, and of proportion by which we can only praise the Al-Mighty. And yet no land is same, it has different blends of beauty and things not so beautiful. Even human beings are not made the same. So much variety, much difference. And for what, to highlight beauty of everything. A song of solace for a tormented mind and soul.
Pakistan has much beauty, but so has the world, as well as the cosmos. So what makes Pakistan so special? The very idea of its inception. Yes, the Ideology of Pakistan. The first step towards fulfilling our commitment to Allah. So that peace and harmony can prevail in the world and between various nations. The message of the Quran was for all humanity, not only us as Muslims. The survival of Pakistan is not merely geography. It is its Ideology. It makes us united and it repulses our enemy and their paid agents here.
Pakistan is unique. Special. Outstanding idea. The message is simply this:
PAKISTAN’S FOUNDER, MOHAMMAD ALI JINNAH, HAD A VISION FOR PAKISTAN
MEDIA HYPOCRISY THERE AS TRUTH MATTERS TO NONE
YES, PRESIDENT ZIA UL HAQUE WAS CHERISHED BY MANY
The funeral of Zia ul Haque was the most heavily attended funeral in the history of Pakistan. The world came to mourn him. Attended by leaders and delegations from fifty countries. It is east to criticize him but more difficult to realize the obsession and the constraints he was working in. A remarkable thing he was trying to do was to revitalize the Department of Islamic Reconstruction made originally by Quaid e Azam and was ready to appoint the German convert Muhammed Asad to do the job of Ijjtehad in Islam. A gold medal was awarded to even G.A. Pervaiz for his contribution to the struggle for Pakistan as a trusted Adviser to Quaid e Azam himself. And it is projected that he was a mere Mullah. A Mullah cannot even conceive of people like Allama Muhammed Asad. With all his inadequacies, he was trying to do more than his share of work.
Why people are being allergic to him? The foreign lobbies do not like leaders talking about the Ideology of Pakistan. President Zia gave a new impetus to this Ideology and lost his life for it. In all ways he is a true shaheed, while this word is so loosely used by others to further their claim to immortality.