Fading glory of connoisseurship of past

1976 Basil Gray and ARC outside London Club
1976 Basil Gray and ARC outside London Club

There is no doubt that British understood this region well. The scholars they created in the Arts knew all this more, and excellence in scholarship was created by people like Sir Thomas Arnold, Laurence Binyon, Basil Gray, Robert Skelton, Ralph Pinder Wilson, Robert Hellebrand and others. But a new wave of students got their knowledge in India after 1947 and never got a chance to come to Pakistan after 1947. Their minds and eyes got muddled and soon scores of art dealers muddled the whole picture of Indo-Pakistani Art.

Yes, there are lies, and there are Art lies. The two Nation theory is ever dominant in the Arts too. Both nations had their own way of dealing with the Arts. A basic and natural aversion to sculpture which was to be worshipped was there. Muslims enjoyed figurines for pleasure, never for religious sake. And the figures they saw being worshipped, as iconoclasts, they destroyed in a political wave. Most of this sculpture was purely erotic and they would fail to understand why the LINGAM or the PHALLUS was worshipped as a natural god here. In Mandirs in deep down dark caves, young girls lost their virginity on lingams and this blood was offered as sacred duty to the gods. The most erotic sculpture was there, in unimaginable sexual positions, to wrest the equilibrium of these people. But the Hindus loved to revel in Stone in line of the Buddhist before them. But the local sculpture did not have the aquiline poses of Central Asia. The Shiva and Krishnas were stout warriors here in their own Art.

Angels in Mughal Art
Angels in Mughal Art

The Muslims did ART FOR ART SAKE only. No religion was involved here, and they accepted everything as a thing of beauty that could be a joy forever. Aurangzeb Alamgeer had all praise for the CAVES OF ELLORA (Even Mahmud Ghaznavi liked Hindu Architecture). He himself was a connoisseur of Art and Art did not falter but continued with its far reaching effects on the region.

Paper came from China but in this region it was introduced by the Muslims. So painting on paper became a tradition of Muslim Painting itself. And although all kinds of painting flourished here as Wall paintings too, they were replaced by Albums of paintings and the art of the miniature, for basically horse men and elephant riders, like the Muslims would love to carry Albums with them, to read and study by their campfire for enjoyment on the journeys. With times change, so did the composition and size of the paintings itself.

M.A. Rahman Chughtai would get irritated with the massive fake portrayal of CHERUBS in Fake Mughal Art. There was no scope for the depiction of silly images which only suited Western Art. Here the concept of Angels was bathed in beauty and the Angels wore beautiful clothes, peacock like feathers and beautiful faces. Naked Cherub boys were not in taste of these people. Scholars impose this image on the Mughals to raise their stature high, as that the Mughals were indebted to them for inspiration. It is a pity that the bigotry of these many western scholars have not been able to evade. We look at Mughal Art through Mughal eyes, not eyes tainted by jealousy and envy of culture.

Ridiculous Cherubs in Fake Mughal Art
Ridiculous Cherubs in Fake Mughal Art

Western scholarship recognized all this once upon a time. But now it seems funny that they have made STEREOTYPES of things with fixed accounts. This is just a call forward to the Western world to study our culture too and our point of view. Many of the works you hold for as genuine are just fake works. And M.A. Rahman Chughtai was the first to point out that. But more of this in another blog.


  1. The legs of our so called scholars tremble at sight of a western scholar. Ridiculous imperialism is there. What you see as truth, tell as truth. Truth prevails! Do not be afraid of expressing same. Real people appreciate same!

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