TWO INDIAN GIRLS IN TOWN
FIRST INDIAN VISITORS TO CHUGHTAI MUSEUM
A tale of late 70s in Lahore
M.A. Rahman Chughtai was loved by many communities. Hindu and Sikhs had also great regard for him. The Sikhs because he was Punjabi and the Hindus for he indulged in Hindu Mythology too, free of any prejudices on the aspect. In 1979 we invited the Maharani of Jaipur to our museum and asked her to inaugurate our show. She could not but I had a talk with her on the phone. Later she visited us twice on her own and resented being shadowed by Indian Intelligence. But before that we had Indian visitors.
First came Gogi Saroj an artist from India. She was a young girl then and today she looks totally different obviously with age. We gave her a grand reception here. Then came Promilla Luthra for research on her PHD on M.A. Rahman Chughtai from Guru Nanak University in Amritsar, who awarded her a PHD on same. We ofcourse remember them both.
Promilla spent about seven days here researching at Chughtai Museum and on the last day called with Ms Marcella Bedford when she was on the verge of ending her research. She wanted the letters of Basil Gray to Chughtai, and vice versa. We obliged her with what we could, but did not want partition discussion to loom in front of us. After all we were the strong believers in the Two Nation theory and she lamented as to why Chughtai had opted to remain in Pakistan and not move to India on instructions from Jawaharlal Nehru.
Of course we had Sikh and Hindu visitors later in life too at Chughtai Museum, and we have a host of enquiries from India which come to this day. Yes we are two nations but we can live in love and peace with each other and Art and Culture can help in a big way. But the Indians have forgone the Congress party and the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru and ended into extremism. Fortunately we never gave the Mullahs a chance here. No Mullah has ever been elected here, nor ever will. India got mystified with their own Pandits! The venom of a tea seller is destroying the peace and tranquility of the region. Allah forgive!
A note from history is in order. Imad ud din Muhammed son of Qasim sent a petition from the Hindus of Sind to the Caliph of Islam, who gave this reply:
“It appears that the chief inhabitants of Brahmanabad have petitioned to be allowed to repair the temple of Budh and pursue their religion. As they have made submission, and have agreed to pay taxes to the Khalifa, nothing more can be required from them. They have been taken under our protection and we cannot in any way stretch out their hands upon their lives and property. Permission is given to them to worship their gods. Nobody must be forbidden or prevented from following his own religion. They may live in their houses in whatever manner they like.”
Consider it for a moment. What can be more secular than that?