FIRST OFFICIAL SHOW OF PAINTINGS IN PAKISTAN, M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI,
INAUGURATION OF ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL KHAWAJA NAZIMUDDIN 1949
AMBASSADORS SPECIALLY FLEW FROM KARACHI TO VIEW THE SHOW
It was a grand event in the cultural history of Pakistan. It was well advertised and well known to people in and outside the country. Delegations came from all over the world. Chancellors from American Universities. Ambassadors flew to Lahore from Karachi. The Governor General of Pakistan, Khawaja Nazimud din to inaugurate the show. This was in conjunction with the inauguration of ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL. The idea discussed at the house of Begum Shahnawaz in 1946. An institution founded by M.A. Rahman Chughtai and he designed its first insignia, which is still valid to this day. He also gave it the name ALHAMRA. He set the whole tone for it. It was to reflect the kind of renaissance in culture which happened to Islamic Arts in Spain. Everything was forward looking.
The first foreign Head of State to visit Pakistan was the Shahinshah of Iran and he too visited the show along with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan. It can be seen in the press photograph too. The place Alhamra was like a second home to us and we visited it often. M.A. Rahman Chughtai even planted many mango trees there. The object to bring Pakistan to the fore front of the Art world.
Men of culture governed Alhamra. Then Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto thrusted it into bureaucratic orbit and nincompoops came one after the other, to loot the spoils of war. From the refinement of Fine Arts and Classical music, it was set for stage dramas of the most vulgar kind. Imtiaz Ali Taj must be crumbling in his grave as to what happened here. The place was used to rent out for Shadi ghars and what not? The making of the new building was so defective that the roof gave in one day. Even now we see work going on in the roof. Contractors busy at looting governmental money. Suffice to say we all understand that. There are those who deny even Chughtais association with the place. Documentary evidence speak otherwise. We wish Kamran Lashari, the best in his venture to upgrade Alhamra back into form. But like many other things in Pakistan, this is just another RAW deal.