Mian Kareem Baksh Mimar father of M.A. Rahman Chughtai died in 1913 in Lahore and was buried in Miani Qabarastan Lahore. Chiragh Bibi, his second wife, died in 1925, on the 27th of Ramazan. The widow was left with three sons to rear and with no resources at their disposal. The estimated age of the sons at the time of death of their father was around 16, 13 and 10 years. The eldest Muhammed Hussain was on his own from the start. People owed Kareem Baksh money but no one came forward to give same. Gradually the property owned by them started getting sold as was expected in that times.
The rebellion of M.A. Rahman Chughtai was not a rebellion but an assertion of his personality. The parents remember that as a young child , the family was going to a wedding and put on some clothes for the son. The son refused to wear those clothes and when forced to do so, was not willing to go to the marriage. The young son was left crying at the stairs for he was aghast at the clothes chosen for him.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai was as such not adjusted in his teens. His creativity was bouncing out of him and in his seventh class, he ran away from home with some other boys of the mohalla Chabuk Sawaran. The destination Karachi to be part of some theatrical company. It was in those times that Chiragh Bibi made a strange analysis of him. She would utter out loud that instead of him, Allah should have blessed her with a CHATOO WATA (Mortar and pestle), for then at least he could have been of some use. She could never realize at that time what kind of a son she was nurturing, who would rock the world of art in no time.
Chiragh Bibi was so happy when her son became an instructor in Photo-lithography at Mayo School of Arts for Rs 30 per month. But her contentment was for a short period. Irritated with the manipulation of Samarendranath Gupta, Lionel Heath questioned his integrity at matter of a school leave. At the questioning of his integrity, Chughtai resigned from Mayo School of Art and said goodbye to the salary of Rs 30 per month, which was phenomenal for those times. This was the second shock that the son gave to his impoverished mother. There was no other support for the family. But the son boldly said to his mother, not to worry at all. The sun will shine all new in the future.
And it did indeed. A the very first exhibition of M.A. Rahman Chughtai in 1920 at the Lahore Museum, all the works got sold and he was able to raise 2625 Rs. He brought all to his mother and she could not believe as to what had happened to their luck. Indeed Chughtai took care of her mother like a devoted son. Once she was sick and he was by her bed side all night, with a glass of water, she wanted to drink but fell asleep before that. Her eldest son had proved to her the mettle of an artist. Chiragh Bibi was so proud of him and never uttered words against him. In fact it was on her mouth now that with the turban on his head, as he would walk the mohalla, the ladies would swoon at the handsome young man. Strange words for an elderly woman.
A piece of art advice was given by the mother to the son. She said the water you use for painting is often muddled with colour. Always use fresh clean water for your work, and there would no no parallel to your creative output. Well said!