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A NEW WAVE OF CHUGHTAI FORGERIES DONE BY A KARACHI ARTIST; WITHOUT INFORMATION FORGING PERSONAL SIGNATURES AND SEALS.

A NEW WAVE OF CHUGHTAI FORGERIES DONE BY A KARACHI ARTIST;
WITHOUT INFORMATION FORGING PERSONAL SIGNATURES AND SEALS.

Chughtai Museum has known of the wave of forgeries being done both in Delhi and Karachi, but under a new game plan, the new forgeries border on utter recklessness. This is an urgent call to buyers to be aware of these people, and we know about them, but cannot take their names, as it involves a lot of other corrupt people and art dealers. The forger artist is in Karachi but is patronized by a host of very powerful people. But this is a wakeup call to him too. We have a signed confession of his which he has forgotten by this time.

This is a historical painting. In 1911 M.A. Rahman Chughtai got married to Wazeer un nisa and a boy was born to them a few years later. The boy died at child birth and left a scar on the face of the newlywed couple. They tried their best to have another child, but the lady developed womb cancer and could not have a child anymore. It was later that Chughtai artist got married again for a second time and had two children from his second wife. Chughtai rarely painted subjects like blindness, but he ended up painting this around 1918 or so, and the work was printed in Modern Review Calcutta at that time. It was entitled “Her Blind Child” at that time. Later the name was changed to “Remorse”. Remorse disappeared from scene and came up for auction in the western circle. It was bought by Dr Quraishi of USA from there. Later the kind and gracious man tried to auction it again but it went unsold. It is not known whether it changed hand or it is still with Dr Quraishi. An offer was made to the said gentleman to give the painting to us or exchange it with another one. But as he was getting aged, he lost interest in acquisitions. It is not known of the present whereabouts of same. 

It is utterly shameless on the part of the Karachi artist not only to continue to forge Chughtai works but with a new beginning to start forging signatures and seals, which can be clearly seen as ABSOLUTELY WRONG. THIS IS ALSO TO WARN PEOPLE AND ART COLLECTORS TO ASK US THE AUTHENTICITY OF WHATEVER THEY BUY. We are available all the time, just email us at “chughtaimuseumlahore@hotmail.com” for the quickest response possible. Obviously, we are not responsible in any way with the corrupt practices of an artist. May Jesus set his path right!

14TH AUGUST 1959 INAUGURATION PAKISTAN ARTS COUNCIL KARACHI; SPEECH ON EMBARGO BY PRESIDENT AYUB KHAN ON PAKISTANI ARTISTS.

14TH AUGUST 1959 INAUGURATION PAKISTAN ARTS COUNCIL KARACHI;
SPEECH ON EMBARGO BY PRESIDENT AYUB KHAN ON PAKISTANI ARTISTS.

A beautiful speech addressed to followers of Art in Pakistan and Pakistani artists. A historical chapter on Art in Pakistan. Recoded for the future. A page of our art history.

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

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.

A GREAT ART EVENT IN PAKISTAN’S HISTORY 14TH AUGUST 1959 ; INAUGURATION OF KARACHI ARTS COUNCIL WITH ART WORKS OF ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI NATIONAL ARTIST OF PAKISTAN

A GREAT ART EVENT IN PAKISTAN’S HISTORY 14TH AUGUST 1959;
INAUGURATION OF KARACHI ARTS COUNCIL WITH ART WORKS OF ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI NATIONAL ARTIST OF PAKISTAN

Inaugural Show of Arts Council Karachi 1959

Media is nowadays suffering an amnesia about the past of Pakistan. All they can see is the worst of Pakistan and that they show at the behest of foreign lobbies, for those lobbies pay them enough to do things allergic to the Identity of Pakistan. Pakistan made great strides in the world even in its worst circumstances. Like the past Heads of State, President Ayub Khan also promoted the Arts in his way. Finances were released for the new ARTS COUNCIL building in Karachi and it was inaugurated with an Art show of the works of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. One of the biggest shows in the history of Pakistan with hundreds of works by the artist. The speech Ayub Khsan read is with us and we will give it another time. Till then just enjoy a vision of the show.

Art activities in Karachi started with M.A. Rahman Chughtai’s show. Previously in 1952 Governor General Ghulam Muhammed Khan had also inaugurated a show,. And in 1949 Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin at Arts Council Lahore. All Arts Councils in Pakistan were inaugurated with shows of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, including the one in Peshawer and in Dacca. More on that later. Enjoy!

GOLDEN CHANCE OF A CHUGHTAI ONE MAN SHOW IN LONDON; TIMING SABOTAGED BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY PAKISTAN 1966.

GOLDEN CHANCE OF A CHUGHTAI ONE MAN SHOW IN LONDON;
TIMING SABOTAGED BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY PAKISTAN 1966.

Field Marshal President Ayub Khan was responsible for inaugurating many exhibitions shows of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. But these were one man shows in Pakistan. The agenda was a one man show in London at the Commonwealth Institute. A large number of original paintings were selected and reservations made in London. The President was supposed to be in London on 24th November, 1966, to host the Queen of England at the Commonwealth institute. Plans were made to coincide the visit with the arrival of the President and to the reception given to Queen Elizabeth. The Foreign Minister did not want the President to get that publicity and managed to change the time table of the show. President received the Queen on 24th November, 1966, while the exhibition was scheduled days later on 11th December, 1966. Just 17 days off the big event.

Chughtai Sahib had cooperated with that event and sent a large number of his paintings to the show. The attendance to the show was of 4545 people. The artist was heavily disappointed, for in his views a place like London would attract millions to an event like that. It was the rivalry between the changed Foreign Minister and the President of Pakistan, and the issues of the Tashkent declaration, which destroyed the importance of this event. In any case the One-Man show was held, but strangely was not even properly reviewed in the English Press. Certainly, politics had enslaved culture at that time. The Art of Chughtai is ever alive. The people who opposed him are no more. A blot on their reputation as cultural people. President Ayub Khan compensated for that by inaugurating a One-man show at Alhamra, Lahore on 30th December, 1968, which is a separate story, and we will deal with it soon.

IN SEARCH OF THE SARCOPHAGUS OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN; IT IS WRITTEN THAT IT WAS STILL INTACT IN THE YEAR 1892.

IN SEARCH OF THE SARCOPHAGUS OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN;
IT IS WRITTEN THAT IT WAS STILL INTACT IN THE YEAR 1892.

It is reputed that Nur Jahan composed the verses “Without frills and feathers” for her sarcophagus and a request was made to Emperor Shah Jahan, who accepted her request. The English translation of same was:

“Man is frail, Allah all powerfulIn submission to His will lies theHigh road to Heaven.When I die, hark.On my lowly grave there will neither beFlower nor an earthen lamp.Neither wil there be heard the love song ofThe Cuckoo, nor the yearnings of the moth,To sacrifice itself in fire.”

Nothing more is known.
The only reference of the past that is available, comes from the “Travels in India” of Captain Leopold Von Orlich in 1845. He says:

“It is related in the Khafi Khan, that from the day of her husband’s death, she never put on a coloured dress, but always wore white. She died in 1646, and the tomb which she erected for herself next to that of her husband now lies entirely in ruin. ONLY THE MARBLE SARCOPHAGUS IS PRESERVED; and the beautifully vaulted rooms are now the abode of cows and oxen.” 

This means that the sarcophagus was there in 1846. In 1892 the writer Muhammed Lateef informs us that the chaste sarcophagus with ninety-nine names of Allah had been removed. Why and how not stated at all?  The writer Abdullah Qureshi tells us of the remnant of a brick grave in the basement of the maqbara in 1899. He also tells us that the whole was used by villagers as a latrine and it stinks to unbearable levels.

The theory is that a sarcophagus was found in the compound of Asif Khan’s maqbara and put there in the verandah in 1907. It was considered desirable to associate it with Asif Khan, although the whole size of the same does not match with that of the structure of Asif khan. It is too small to be that of Nawab Asif Khan. Read our previous blog on the same subject for analysis. Is it possible that this is the sarcophagus of Empress Nur Jahan?

THE START OF A MUSLIM RENAISANCE IN THE REGIONAL ARTS; ICONIC ORIGINAL LETTERHEAD OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI.

THE START OF A MUSLIM RENAISANCE IN THE REGIONAL ARTS;
ICONIC ORIGINAL LETTERHEAD OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI.

The vision of M.A. Rahman Chughtai was design conscious all the time. In an era where the art world was dominated by Hindu influence, he had to make his mark as a Muslim artist. This is a design which was used as his letterhead in the early 1920s or by the time he had resigned from the Mayo School of Art. He wove his design on the basis of a lady reading the Holy Quran. The dome in front of the lady was a calligraphy designed by the artist but written actually by a famous calligrapher of Lahore, attached to the Masjid Wazeer Khan Lahore. Most people confused it as a Quranic reference instead of seeing it as a name and address only.

Original letterhead of MARC

This vision asserted his role as the Muslim renaissance of the arts in the region. The letterhead changed many times in his life time but is still used on the letterhead of Chughtai Museum. It has an immortal twist to it and it does not go away from our vision and record. Allah bless the sacred soul of the artist!

WHEN QUEEN ELIZABETH BOUGHT A CHUGHTAI PAINTING!

WHEN QUEEN ELIZABETH
BOUGHT A CHUGHTAI PAINTING!

The Queen and M.A. Rahman Chughtai

Newspaper report
Newspaper report

Queen Elizabeth has a great fondness for collecting art. The Queen’s collection is world famous for both its depth and content. In a visit to Pakistan, the Queen saw some paintings of M.A. Rahman Chughtai at Governor’s House Lahore. She was deeply interested and desired to meet the artist. As the artist was not available (explain later), she got a choice of some paintings, selected one and bought it. The work was entitled SPRING and it was delivered to the British High Commissioner Pakistan. We attach a report of the Civil and Military Gazette Lahore.

Queen's Appreciation
Queen’s Appreciation

Later M.A. Rahman Chughtai not only presented five etchings of his to the Queen, he also sent her a copy of the famous book AMAL-E-CHUGHTAI. The Queen was gracious in acknowledging all this with her thanks. When M.A. Rahman Chughtai died on 17th January, 1975, Queen Elizabeth was one of the many Heads of State who condoled his death with us. Chughtai Museum too presented a painting to her namely THE TUTOR and it was given to the British Ambassador Laurence Pumphrey, and a ROYAL AIR FORCE PLANE took it to the Queen in England.

The Art of M.A. Rahman Chughtai shortened distances between various countries and Pakistan, and brought good will for Pakistan. A tradition present Government know not how to recognize and utilize this good will in favour of a progressive and strong Pakistan.

Queen's Condolence
Queen’s Condolence

A MUSLIM PALACE IN SICILY MADE FOR KING WILLIAM II; POPULARLY KNOWN AS “CUBA” ACTUALLY KUBBEH CASTLE.

A MUSLIM PALACE IN SICILY MADE FOR KING WILLIAM II;
POPULARLY KNOWN AS “CUBA” ACTUALLY KUBBEH CASTLE.

Palermo Sicily the island has a history of 2700 years. From 831 to 1072 it was under Muslim rule, and it can be noted that the effects of Islamic aesthetics lasted centuries even after the end of Muslim rule. It was conquered by the Normans who ruled from 1130 to 1816, but had a treaty with the Arab Muslims not to interfere in their way of life. And nothing happened. However, the Islamic aesthetics swept the Norman Kings too through art, architecture, and even the lingual script. We find residues in the Palermo Quran, the Quranic inscription at the gate of the Cathedral, and host of Islamic related things, like coins, inscriptions, even wardrobe of the Normans. The visual impact of Islam is easy to discern in the area.

Jeremy Johns the great researcher discovered many things. He also uncovered that in the wardrobe of King William II, there are three notes written on the costume itself, testifying the name of the three Arabs who stitched the same. Those were Mukhr Muhammed (or Mahmud), Ali Maliti, and Marzuq, at the guidance of the eunuch Tumas (Gaytus Thomas) of the Royal Diwan. The clothing itself has Islamic perspective.

Many palaces in Palermo have Islamic architecture with Kufi inscriptions, including Cursive writing. Built in 1180 by King William II of Sicily from Arab architects still living in Sicily from older times and well versed in Islamic architecture. Decorated with inscriptions in Kufi script even on the top of the palace. Various other inscriptions inside are preserved too. But the whole complex is in literal ruins and have been used for adverse purposes. Even the mosaic of King William II shows inclinations towards Islamic aesthetics.

Visitors tell us that there are hardly any guides to the complex but it is worth seeing. It also has a background of Mafia of Sicily operating there. Mafia resistant groups are still operating there. But this Mafia was created to erase the close affinity between the Christian Kings and the Muslims living there. The cultural influence was tremendous.

An official note says:

Address: Corso Calatafimi, 100 90129 Palermo

The Cuba was built by William II of Sicily in his great Royal Park, as his personal recreation pavilion, together with an artificial lake: it shows strong Fatimid art influences, as it was designed and decorated by Arab artists. During the rule of Bourbon kings of Naples, it was annexed to a barracks. In the 16th century it was turned into a lepers’ colony.

Some say that the name Cuba derives from its approximately cubical form. Others that the name Cuba comes from the Arabic kubbeh, meaning dome.

Note on the pillar inscription:

Islamic inscription on a column in La Martorana (Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio), Palermo. The inscription (in Kufic, the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts) reads:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, (“Basmala” – all prayers and chapters in the Quran starts with these words)
God is sufficient for me and He is the best advocate

Thanks to:
Copyright © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro for Mosaic King William II.Copyright Sebastian Fischer – Own work. (2007)

NUR MUHAMMED SON OF ATTAULLAH RUSHDI SON OF AHMAD MIMAR; AS KNOWN AS HAFIZ HAFEEZ: DISCOVERING FRESH EVIDENCE ON FAMILY.

NUR MUHAMMED SON OF ATTAULLAH RUSHDI SON OF AHMAD MIMAR;
AS KNOWN AS HAFIZ HAFEEZ: DISCOVERING FRESH EVIDENCE ON FAMILY.

On 26th May, 1702 (1113 AH) Princess Zebunnisa daughter of Aurangzeb Alamgeer died in Delhi. The father openly wept at the news and issued order to three courtiers to build a mausoleum for her. The three were Sayyid Amjad Khan, Sheikh Attaullah and Hafiz Hafeez (Nur Muhammed). So, say the otherwise official “Maaseray Alamgeeri”, chronicles of the Emperor, although no one has paid attention to these names.

Attaullah Rushdi son of Ustad Ahmad Mimar had done many works for the Emperor and his name appear in many state records (Hyderabad Deccan has published them), as well as inscription on the mausoleum of Empress Rabia Durrani, wife of Aurangzeb Alamgeer. The supposition was that he was not alive by this date. But an inscription on a manuscript tells his age in 1102 AH as 99 years, and fit for the earth of the grave. This means that as a very old man he was still alive in 1113 AH. But he was accompanied by his talented son Hafiz Hafeez, also known as Nur Muhammed Mimar. Like other family members, he was an accomplished calligrapher (a Quran is there from his hand in our archives), as well as a mathematician of high order. To be given charge to build the mausoleum of the daughter of the Emperor was no small order. Lutufullah Muhandis had built the Bagh as well as the Mausoleum of Roshan Ara Begum sister of the Emperor (as testified by the Diwan of Kherullah Muhandis).

The miracle is that records are there all the time. It is the search which is required to unearth new materials.