THE TREASURE OF PENCIL SKETCHES OF LEAD SWORD: “IF I LIVE TO EIGHTY YEARS – I CANNOT ACTUALLY COMPLETE MY STARTED WORKS FOR ANOTHER EIGHTY YEARS”
Individuals and Societies are inter related to each other. All societies have same kind of people ratio. Intelligent people and totally moronic people. But higher civilizations grasp the compassion for saving their culture by taking care of the icons of people. This is deliberately cultivated among the people. In Western capitals, I have seen ques of people and the long lines perplex me, as to what motivates the people to come to exhibition shows in storm and rain and what so ever climate. You see not only old people, you see young children as well thirsting to catch a glimpse of their culture at first hand. Once upon a time people from villages used to visit Lahore and you would hear them say about Lahore Museum (Ajaib ghar, known as Ajaib Kar) as much as they said about Lahore Zoo (Chiria ghar, known as Chiria Kar). And without a word of knowledge they would look at their civilizations with awe. Today ask a rickshaw wala about Ajaib Ghar and they would not know where to go. Simple for no one has bothered to do any promotion about it. This tradition goes to the momentous Ajaib ul Makulaqat manuscript found in ancient time.
Lahore Chabuk Sawaran was a difficult place to reach, as to the house of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. But people from all over the world went there, and there were people who could quickly guide them to the house. In course of years we at Chughtai museum reached famous as well as unknown travel guides, and we are listed everywhere. It was there in Murray’s Handbooks of Travel, but I saw same in PAN AM travel guide in 1951. Today Lonely Planet, Etude Paris, International Directory of Arts Berlin, all list us.We used to see literally flock of tourists at our house. And we saw them at the museum too. But times are changing. At this time all museums in the world are closed and all are working at home and on line too.
Exceptional people enrich culture with their extraordinary talents. But there has to be some one to take care of the legacy of the artist. In Pakistan the general run of the people are heartless about their culture and their cultural icons. We talk about that all the time, but proverbially “not even a lice scratch their head”. And these are the people who are destined to be zeros even in their life time but will not consider help of any kind to culture. In fact thy seek harm to those who think in those terms. Within our meager resources we do our best, but for how long? In the end the society has to take responsibility and if it does not, it is wiped out of cultural history within no time. We can only not hope but do our best in our life time.
We take this opportunity to present you with a few selected pencil sketches of the artist. Obviously he did hundreds and we maintain them. We give an opportunity for visitors to see them but it is not always possible. Enjoy what Chughtai could do with his lead pencil, like a sword on paper. Delicate calligraphic unending line. And subjects a product of his unending creative imagination. The West was ready to kiss his toes, but the artist was not willing to leave his nation. Ideology is as important as life itself. Enjoy!