M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI OBSESSED WITH REGIONAL PICTORIAL HISTORY;
RESEARCHED ON “DABISTAN MUSSAWARI” OF LAHORE AND ITS OFF-SHOOTS.
An article on the background of pictorial history generated by both artists of Lahore as well as other artists of the Punjab. The pitfall was that as in other ways of life, the two-nation theory came here in this aspect of life. Hindus kept on generating their point of view. Muslims were not even interested in this aspect of writing. The result a myth was created and the truth driven out lost in the woods of anarchy. Talking of Punjab, it was forgotten that Lahore was a Mughal city, governed by Mughal Kings and Governors. In this particularly important period, by the son of Wazeer Qamaruddin, that Mir Muin ul Mulk, that is Mir Mannu. Mir Mannu was Governor of both Mughals as well as Ahmad Shah Abdali, and all the Hindu Rajas paid homage to him. In fact, pictures exist with reign of Mir Mannu as inscriptions. And not only those miniatures of Mir Mannu are there too. Scattered in museums all over the world, some are published, some remain unpublished. Berlin Museum has a most interesting miniature done by the famous Nainsukh himself.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai had great plans for pictorial history. An article appeared in a local literary magazine. Then after his death, Chughtai Museum published his research to that date. The book was a block buster. Very soon we ran out of print. We published a second edition too. This was distributed free of cost by Chughtai Museum. It generated upheaval in research work. Students and scholars borrowed information from it. In fact, a few PHD thesis written owed their debt to this little booklet. An English edition was made but has not been printed yet. It reveals to the world a plethora of artists of Lahore, unknown and unresearched. It even revealed that there were streets named after artists in Lahore itself. We even had reference of a mohalla and gali of Sheikh Basawan the Mughal mussawar. Our finances are meagre, but our ideas are unlimited in scope. We will continue work on same.
Gaur Suhai were the first signed miniatures of a Punjab artist. M.A. Rahman Chughtai collected signed works as an obsession. We published a book on Gaur Suhai, who signed his works in Persian language as “saqt Gaur Suhai”, with his links to Muslim courts. Two works were with N.C. Metha, a collector of Bombay. A few works by Lahore based painters, who migrated from Lahore, and were ancestors of Chughtai’s first wife, Wazeer un nisa, of Chowk Nawab Wazeer Khan. One of them was ELIA NAQASH, and his work is in a museum too. We are working on these features ourselves. Our collection was noticed by Dr Karl Khandalavalla. Scholars like Bautze as well as B.N. Goswamy went through our book.Excellent work these people are doing on their own. Surely no one is free of bias. Truth is inevitable!