RANA CHANDRA SHAMSHEER JANG AND M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
THE PASSING OF SHAH JAHAN
The Nepalese connection
We plan many things. Interactions are beyond all plans. There is a long story behind the CHALLENGE OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI TO THE BENGAL SCHOOL OF ART, and I have discussed it at many places and it will be continued as talk when art history is a subject of discussion. The work was obviously not well received in Calcutta and Abindaranath Tagore did criticize it. That is a separate matter. It did win a prize at Bombay Art Show in 1921. But then it was exhibited at Mussorie, a hill station beyond our comprehension these days. Not much activity there at all, lest art sales and things like that. And the work THE PASSING OF SHAH JAHAN was priced at RS 1500, a phenomenal sum for that times. A young man who made it around twenty, was asking a fabulous sum at a mere 25 years of age. Facing the bigotry which was self evident even at that time.
The strange part is that Nepal is a country marred by contradictions to this day. On one hand there is the intelligentsia who believe in Westernized concepts of democracy and on the other is the traditional people of Nepal, who always believed in the divine power of RANAS and RAJAS are part of their folk lore. We receive comments on our site of Nepalese who like to ridicule their RANAS but let us be fair. Democracy itself is a concept which has bombarded us with hopes, little else. Even England does not plan to give up their CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY, another trick of the trade. We hear that Rana Chandra Shamsheer Jang gave up his Monarchy and became the PRIME MINISTER OF NEPAL. There is no doubt about that. And if so, the man must be considered with compassion for his far sight into the future. No one give away power without a struggle and this man indeed did so. So we pray for his soul with compassion too!
I heard from my father that the beloved wife of Rana Chandra had died and he was in deep grief, as he went to the hills to console his soul at the loss. There near the Christ Church, he attended a show in the Parish Room, and there he saw the work, THE PASSING OF SHAH JAHAN. He immediately felt attached to it and not only did he buy it, he wrote a letter to the artist in Lahore, in appreciation of same. Well done, Rana Sahib!
Our archives are full of history of Art of our region. We take the facts and figures out to enrich this history ever more.