THE PORTRAITS OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
HARDLY ANY EXIST IN LIFE, ONE CAN WONDER WHY?
People welcome to try their luck
M.A. Rahman Chughtai unlike other pygmies of art here, never attempted a Self-portrait. The closest he reached was a portrait done by Ustad Aziz in the Ustad Allah Baksh Studio, which was later signed by Ustad Allah Baksh himself. I was there when it was being made, and later even borrowed it once for a show of ours. I do not know where it is at present. In any case it was from a photograph made of the artist, but the artist had himself corrected it for Ustad Aziz, and that was as near as you could get to a portrait. No image with us.
There was an attempt at a pencil sketch by an artist from Gujrat, Ravishankar Raval in 1939, which was published in Bombay in 1946. I do not know if it exists at all. We have an image. Saeed Akhtar wanted to make one, but nothing was published for the Stamps series, for there was a certain lobby trying to undermine the Ideological impact of the artist. Even Stephen P. Cohen, the great American Pakistani expert, had noted this and we talked about it, when he visited us here. A Sindhi artist had made a Multani tile of him. We have it in our possession.
After the death of the artist, we noted the lack of this in the life of the artist. Incidentally we read about an art student, namely ANJUM HASSAN from Karachi in the Herald Magazine. And invited her here to do a portrait on the artist. The sample she sent is still with us. We had issues about the actual one, but she was adamant against changing anything, and we respect her for that. For us the sample brought more of Chughtai’s character, rather than the finished product. We are told that she is somewhere in the United States but we still remember her fondly. She was not only beautiful but had a lovely personality, very suitable for a portrait of Chughtai Artist. Her maternal uncle and aunt I met all the time here in Lahore, for he was managing an Airline office here. Mirza Baigs they themselves. Our best wishes to her ever!
Recently a SCULPTOR of Lahore has offered to make a portrait in STONE of the artist. We have welcomed him. Let us see how the same will proceed. I have done my best and doing my best in very limited resources. No one really cares, but we know the future of Pakistan is telling us again and again, not to give up. The future needs us. We stand free, for unlike others WE HAVE NOT EVEN TAKEN A SINGLE PAISA FROM THE GOVERNMENT, NOR EVEN ONE FAVOUR OF ANY KIND. This freedom let us soar high in the sky!