GOLDEN CHANCE OF A CHUGHTAI ONE MAN SHOW IN LONDON;
TIMING SABOTAGED BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY PAKISTAN 1966.
Field Marshal President Ayub Khan was responsible for inaugurating many exhibitions shows of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. But these were one man shows in Pakistan. The agenda was a one man show in London at the Commonwealth Institute. A large number of original paintings were selected and reservations made in London. The President was supposed to be in London on 24th November, 1966, to host the Queen of England at the Commonwealth institute. Plans were made to coincide the visit with the arrival of the President and to the reception given to Queen Elizabeth. The Foreign Minister did not want the President to get that publicity and managed to change the time table of the show. President received the Queen on 24th November, 1966, while the exhibition was scheduled days later on 11th December, 1966. Just 17 days off the big event.
Chughtai Sahib had cooperated with that event and sent a large number of his paintings to the show. The attendance to the show was of 4545 people. The artist was heavily disappointed, for in his views a place like London would attract millions to an event like that. It was the rivalry between the changed Foreign Minister and the President of Pakistan, and the issues of the Tashkent declaration, which destroyed the importance of this event. In any case the One-Man show was held, but strangely was not even properly reviewed in the English Press. Certainly, politics had enslaved culture at that time. The Art of Chughtai is ever alive. The people who opposed him are no more. A blot on their reputation as cultural people. President Ayub Khan compensated for that by inaugurating a One-man show at Alhamra, Lahore on 30th December, 1968, which is a separate story, and we will deal with it soon.