ZAKIA DIL MUHAMMED COMPLAINT ABOUT CALMNESS IN CHUGHTAI ART
AN ART DISCUSSION OF ART CIRCLE AT ALHAMRA JANUARY 14TH 1950
The Chughtai Arts Show at Alhamra on 12th December, 1949, generated a lot of discussion on Art. In a meeting at Alhamra of an Art Circle on 14th January, 1950, Zakia Dil Muhammed presented her point of view. The said lady was daughter of famous mathematician Dil Muhammed, whose text books on Mathematics are phenomenal to this day. Dil Muhammed was a friend of artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai, and part of the intellectual renaissance of that period. He had asked the advice of Chughtai artist on the joining of Art field by Ms Zakia. Chughtai heavily endorsed her as he used to endorse most people.
A lot of people were there, including a couple namely journalists from Turkey. Zakia Dil Muhammed enquired about the calmness in Chughtai Art, although the period of Pakistan was a turbulent one. Why no turbulence in Chughtai Art? Dr Muhammed Din Taseer could not provide a valid answer, as Chughtai himself sat in a corner watching all that was going on. To understand this one has to remember the essential motive of Islamic Art, to restore the unrest and anarchy of the times with fortitude and calmness by projecting hope in the future.
The artist Chughtai narrated an event to them. He said in the height of war in Germany, when there was anarchy all around, a German artist made a painting of a beautiful dancer. It won best prize in Germany and was heavily awarded. Why turbulence was not felt? The job of the artist is not to engender anarchy. It is to soothe life. When Sultan Muhammed conquered Constantinople, the first thing he did was to have a portrait made of himself. Instead of the turbulence of battles that had happened, he is shown smelling a rose in calm atmosphere.
I witnessed a music recital in Dacca in East Pakistan, done to honour M.A. Rahman Chughtai. Late after midnight the musicians and sitar were playing and literally most of the people were asleep. I asked the sponsors that was it not time to stop same! The host replied the purpose of the recital was just starting. It had calmed all the people and lulled them to sleep.
Western Art brought along with itself in its influx in Pakistan in its pseudo form the concept of agitation. Rebels rebellion without a cause. More on this in another blog.