MANY MUGHAL MINIATURES CARRY NAME OF BEHZAD LAHORI,
AS INSCRIPTIONS ON THE ART WORKS THEMSELVES BUT SADLY
DISMISSED BY WESTERN SCHOLARS BY COMPARISON WITH USTAD
KAMALUDDIN BEHZAD, WHO IS NATURALLY DIFFERENT PAINTER
Western scholarship lost the ability to look like locals and locals lost the ability to look at all. Some common sense about ourselves only we have and the world is forewarned about it. One relates to the artist Behzad. We are so familiar with the great Ustad Kamaluddin Behzad, that if we see the name anywhere else, we think of it as someone trying to forge a work in the name of the great Master. Not always so, indeed. The Iranians boasted of a most famous modern Behzad of their own. We also have a 16th century Behzad Lahori and there are few paintings we can calmly claim to be his own. For instance, the Jain Miniature is not by Ustad Sheikh Basawan but by Behzad Lahori, and many have mistaken this as a wrong attribution. Not so. There are miniatures of European women which are linked to the brush of Behzad Lahori. The Darab-nama in the British Museum is also one of them. We have tried to give you some visuals of same.
Who was Behzad Lahori? This takes us to the Mussavari khana in Lahore Fort and Khawaja Abdul Samad, one of the pioneers of Mughal Art in our region. Abdul Samad brought two young sons with him when he came to Lahore from Kabul. One was Khawajah Shareef and the other was Behzad Mussawar. Khawajah Shareef was a great scholar and poet having the takhallus ‘Farsi’ as his poetic name. Stray manuscripts carry his name. The same goes for Behzad Lahori, who was reared up and lived his life in Lahore, and later died here at a young age. He was first brought to our notice by one of the greatest Persian scholar of Pakistan, Hafiz Mahmud Khan Shairani. Professor Shairani pointed out that this painter was definitely of this region and was the son of Khawajah Abdul Samad.
Professor Shairani who had seen the Darab nama in the British Museum itself, spelled it in clear terms. This was later certified by the famous Western Scholar Dr Laurence Binyon, who said:
“A not very distinguished group in the sixteenth century Indian Darab Namah at the British Museum, London, bears the inscription, that the work of Behzad was corrected by Khawajah Abdul Samad.”
Other paintings of Behzad are found in the Changez nama in the Bankipur library, Patna. So the presence of Ustad Behzad Lahori is felt here and there. The latest inclusion is a miniature with inscriptions on it and the same refers to it as the work of Behzad. Again confusion prevailed in western scholarship and calls this old inscription as a mistake when it is not. It is the work of Behzad Lahori.
The work in our archives of European Musicians have the same line over the mountain in the background as this miniature and we can easily see it to be the work of Behzad Lahori. We have used it for mere review purposes to compare both works and come to proper conclusions. Include this name in references to foundation of Mughal Art.
A beautiful thesis by artist Ms Razzia Feroze exist on Behzad. A book on him by Dr Abdullah Chaghatai. And a write up by Abdur Rahman Chughtai, too. The Master covered by our people too.