THE STRUGGLE OF USTAD ALLAH BAKSH
PUBLIC APATHY LINGERS ON IN SOCIETY
The bureaucratic belief that artists live on air only
Allah Baksh was very close o M.A. Rahman Chughtai , and when I was born, Allah Baksh gave a big party for his friend Chughtai the Artist. He specially gifted me with a pair of LAKHA pigeons, pure white, who would straddle like Kings in any lawn. I have seen Allah Baksh with my father, many many times. Even on the death of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, he was silently sitting on a chair outside our garage. Unlike Shakir Ali who went to a YMCA meet on the death of Chughtai the artist, on 18th January, where he suffered a massive heart attack, and later died after a few days in hospital; Allah Baksh was contemplating something else. He knew like the past, the future was bleak for the artists too. Only once Chief Minister Hanif Ramay who was a student of Allah Baksh, bought a painting of his for Rs 50,000 for the Punjab House. I do not think anything worthy was done for him.
After his death I visited his house and met Master Aziz, who was the adopted son of Allah Baksh (a nephew actually). There was another Aziz before that. Allah Baksh had lot of students at his house and his earnings were the meagre fees given by them to him. Again after some time passed, I had met Majid, who migrated from the country in disgust. The family of Ustad Allah Baksh had opend a grocery shop outside their house in a small lane. An artist family could not subsist on the earnings of one of the major artist of the region, not only Pakistan. Obviously there is no shame for the family, the shame is of the society who pay no heed to aesthetics or artists of the region. Literary giants suffered the same fate. You had to dishonour Pakistan, dishonour your way f life, to succeed in the materialistic world. These people knew they could do nothing like that, but there are many who sold their souls and their children reap the benefits to this day.
When M.A. Rahman Cugtau founded Alhamra (named by him, idea by him, execution by him, first show by him, insignia by him), there was need to promote other artists. With Justice S. A. Rahman, MARC pioneered the idea of an Allah Baksh show and one was held at Alhamra in 1952. Strangely S.A. Rahman Sahib in the introduction talks of PUBLC APATHY TOWARDS THE ARTS.
There used to be hundreds of paintings of Allah Baksh lying in his academy (home). Probably destroyed or wasted by others. The School is no more. No one to teach, no one to care for same. Even the people who remember Allah Baksh in Muslim Town are not there. But artists live. Artists survive the philistines who make life hell for them. Allah Baksh will prevail.