THE REAL QUEST FOR CHUGHTAI MUSEUM OF LAHORE
Highs and lows of life and endless horizons
In 1932 M.A. Rahman Chughtai was on a quest to Europe and in Amsterdam, visited the house of the artist Rembrandt. He was told that Rembrandt died in a stable, his body stenched for days in same. Later the Government picked up his house and bought similar Etching presses etc and re-established the house as Rembrandt Museum. His travelling guide and companion Elza Huiffner explained all this to him. M.A. Rahman Chughtai said that he will build a museum of his arts in Lahore, enrich it with the best of his works a well as other artists, and it will be a center point of aesthetics development in Lahore and regional Muslim World.
The first thing he did was to start collecting Art in Europe itself and collected 1500 European Engravings, including that of Rembrandt, Durer and Rubens. He also started amassing a valuable collection of Art books for the library of the museum. And then he did one another remarkable thing. He stopped selling his Masterpieces and started differentiating between his Museum and Commercial Art. A term, he used himself. The quest was then to acquire land for same.
Requests to various authorities fell in vain and the artist realized no Government will ever come forward to help him in his quest. He himself bought land in Garden Town for his museum in 1960 and would have built the same then, only conspiratorial forces were there to stop him. And LIT invented foolhardy reasons to stop him in his tracks. It took nearly 35 years to rid ourselves of the LIT now LDA problems and we built the museum on the land. And then another sabotage came in to question our ownership of the land. The case is in front of the full bench of the Lahore High Court, frivolously trying to undo the efforts of Chughtai and his family. In 41 years of existence as a Chughtai Museum, we have not received ONE PAISA nor ONE FAVOUR from any official quarters or otherwise. We were on our own the first day to this day. But we never gave up. The heartbeat of Pakistan was in our blood and both local and foreign lobbies were determined that we do not make it in any way. From far away they can pull the strings of our politicians as well as bureaucracy.
The opposition is not to us in any way. It is to the Ideology of Pakistan which sends shivers through the enemies. In 1975 my faher entrusted this task to me and I have hundred percent well laid plans for the future. We will survive. The enemies will see their faces bite into dust. My mother used to recite this verse to m again and again:
AIHAY THAY JO SANG RA BAN KAR,
SAB UR GAYE BARG KA BAN KAY.
Those who came as Stones to stop our way, evapourated into thin air like autumn leaves.