A RAREST ART PROMOTION WAVE IN INDIA IN 1946 – LORD WAVELL AND LADY WAVELL INVOLVED IN SHOW.
Even in those bleak times (Riots in Amritsar), promotion of Art was still in the minds of the British government. Indian artists were involved. So were art critics. One was G. Venkatachalam (Hindu friend of M.A. Rahman Chughtai), and the other O.C. Gangoly (Hindu enemy of M.A. Rahman Chughtai). Lady Wavell and her husband both there. We indeed had a letter from Wavell’s office in our Chughtai archives. We still have one from Sir Stafford Cripps, as well as others from Viceroy’s office. There was a show in London before partition and two paintings of Chughtai were there. Perhaps the same two paintings were here too. In any case it is an interesting record. I do not think even Art historians remember this episode.
This led to the opening of a Chughtai’s room in the National Museum of Modern arts in Delhi, at Jaipur house. Later it was renamed, and about 13 paintings of Chughtai were there. Some still there, others have disappeared with time. It was the effort of Jawaharlal Nehru on the subject. Nehru remained committed to artists and writers left in Pakistan. But Chughtai the patriot in the Iqballian spirit never saw eye to eye with Nehru on this subject. Pakistan first, and last!