“Art is not what you see, But what you make others see.”- Edgar Deg
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is extremely rich in its art and culture. The beauty of Kashmir has been a source of inspiration for many artists. Various art galleries and museums have attracted a lot of tourism here. During the reign of Sultan Zain ul Abidin, art was highly appreciated. It is believed scholar Sharaf-ud-Din-Bulbul Shah introduced calligraphy to Kashmir in the fourteenth century AD. After him many calligraphers started to enjoy a degree of royal patronage. And this is how calligraphy became the talk of the town.
The word calligraphy is originated from the greek words ‘kallos’ and ‘graphein’ which means ‘beauty’ and ‘to write’ respectively. During the time of Mughals, a number of Kashmiri calligraphists managed to secure a permanent position in the court of royal artisans; Mohammad Hussain Kashmiri being one of them. He was amazing at Nastaliq style of writing. Such was the beauty of his art that he was highly regarded by Mughal Emperor Akbar and Jahangir as well. He was in fact given a place among the famous navratnas of Akbar.
Over the period of time, as the mughal reign started to decline, calligraphy started to fade away. In modern times some people managed to make it survive. Some young calligraphers even managed to make it wide awake. Nadiya Mushtaq Mir, a 29-year-old from Kralpora Village is a self taught calligrapher, got international recognition for her work.
“I was inclined to art, designs, sketches and drawings since my childhood. I used to draw with crayons which gave wings to my imaginations and dreams. It was then that I decided to be associated with this art,” she said.
With this profession she is able to earn a good amount of money. She believes Islamic calligraphy is an art and it is something where people don’t mind spending. In 2017, her work was exhibited in “Khush Khat”, a calligraphy workshop in Srinagar.
Just like her Ishfaq always wanted to follow his passion for calligraphy. He was always surrounded by art, a perk of living in an area that is famous for papier mache craft. Between his busy job in Police department, he somehow manage to steal the time to create some mesmerising pieces of calligraphy. Many buyers got attracted to his work.
Introduction of technology and computers had waned the interest in this beautiful art but thanks to the youngsters, calligraphy is back with a bang. It is really overwhelming to see people making an effort to hold on to the art that was on the verge of extinction. It got a huge boost after an Islamic calligraphy exhibition (ICC) that was organised in Srinagar. The works of famous Calligraphers such as Fida Hussain Rather, Iftikhar Jaffar and Taha Mughal were also displayed. Many government bodies, NGOs, Individual experts came together to promote and exhibit the art.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir after every interval of time organize different workshops and exhibitions to promote the art of Calligraphy. Calligraphy has a special place in Kashmir and should be cherished forever!