THE POET BALDOON DHINGRA AND HIS ILLUSTRATIVE CHOICES
SHEIKH AHMAD, RAZIA SIRAJUDDIN AND AMRITA SHER-GIL
Forgotten Episodes of Lahore’s literary and artistic circles
Indians wrote in the English language all the time. Indian poets attempted poetry in English. Very few succeeded and very few recognized by the English themselves. Baldoon Dhingra was a poet of some eminence. He also translated things, wrote books and even wrote a biography of Amrita Sher Gil. He also held positions of importance. He was also involved in Theatre and considered it as a true Art form. Not much is known about him these days.
Our interest is different. He published three booklets on subjects in his poetic expressions. One was published from Cambridge, the other two from Lahore itself. And the front piece for all three were made by his selection of three different artists. One Sheikh Ahmad (husband of Anna Molka Ahmad), the other Amrita Sher Gil and the third, none other than Razia Sirajuddin, wife of Professor Sirajuddin. All there are in front of us and we share these three designs with our viewers, as a historical record. I wonder if anyone has these these three booklets. One has his autograph on it.
Baldoon Dhingra seems to have known Amrita Sher Gil well to have written a biography on her. If not one of her many lovers, at least an avid admirer. The illustration used in this book Symphony of Peace is possibly rare and perhaps not seen by many people. Published in 1938 at Cambridge, it too is a small booklet of poetry. The remarkable part of Baldoon Dhingra’s books are that often they are of few pages only. Not a writer writing long things.
The poem MOUNTAINS illustrated by Razia Sirajuddin is worth noticing in this lot of three. I think the design is exquisite and say more than what is normally said in such an event. This is my first recorded find of Razia’s work and I am very happy with it. We will continue our voyage of discovery on her. Till then enjoy all three!