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Islamic art exhibition: A peek into the lost world of our calligraphic art

Hirra Azmat




By Hirra Azmat

Srinagar, Jun 10: The stair case bedecked with flowers and posters leads to “Sheerin Qalam”, an Islamic art exhibition organized by Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy, where Qur’an scripted in various calligraphic styles and inscribed in different eras is on display.

As one walks through the history of last few centuries, the 100 rare manuscripts covered with transparent sheets reveal many startling details.


While some of them are dexterously hand-written on the parchment paper, many of them have intricate patterns inscribed on the supple deer skin.

Several manuscripts having stylistic appearance are engraved on the smooth Samarkand silk paper. The indigenous calligraphic scripts prove to be an example of Kashmiri calligraphy in its truest sense.

Mohammad Ashraf Kak, In-charge J&K Culture of Academy and Arts, said, the initiative is aimed at introducing visitors to the large number of objects, which are not in general display and to focus on the dying art of calligraphy.

“This exhibition explains the emergence and proliferation of various styles of calligraphy and scripts from different eras.  The exhibition is unique in the sense that not many people know how culturally rich we have been,” Kak said.

While showing around an array of displays, Kak halts near a Qur’anic manuscript from a Mughal era. With a voice soaked with emotions, he describes it as a classic example of “Kashmiriyat”.

“A limited number of colors are usually used in Qur’anic texts but this particular copy has many vibrant colors used in the border. You will be surprised to know the interesting patterns are done by Hindus and text written by Muslims,” said Kak.

The next Qur’anic text corresponding to 1594 AD on the same table leaves every visitor gasping. With its intricate calligraphy and visually pleasing golden colours, the admiration becomes the only choice.

“Holy Quran written with ink blending gold with saffron. This is the only manuscript in the world calligraphed in saffron ink,” reads the description beneath it.

The exhibition also has an eye-catching collection of calligraphic paintings. They equally cast charm as the rare manuscripts. The Islamic calligraphy of Surah Al-Ikhlas, Surah Al-Fatiha and Ayat-Al-Kursi reflect a contemporary touch by converting it into a painting.

“These are done by our contemporary artists. In the uniquely developed contemporary style of calligraphy paintings, the script dons a new look altogether,” Kak said.

Mohammad Saleem Beigh, convener at INTACH, while lauding the initiative also has a sorry tale to tell: “We want to promote our age old art and culture through such events. However, not many people are able to connect with exhibitions of this kind. This is evident from the less number of young people that I see here,” he said.

Beigh believes that the reason the younger generation are not able to develop a connection with these art forms is a mainly because of the flawed educational policy.

“It has to be a part of the school curriculum. Unless they don’t teach you there is something called ‘manuscript’, ‘painting’ and ‘calligraphy’ the youth can never relate to it,” said Beigh

Echoing similar views, Kak said, “The posterity should come to know that there is a value attached to a document dating 100 or 200 years back. If they fail to build these narratives in schools,  then we shouldn’t be upset when they are unappreciative of such art forms,” he said.




Non-NC governments in J&K weakened State’s Special Status: Omar



Beerwah, Jan 16 : Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that state’s special status was tampered with whenever NC remains away from the power corridors of the state.

While speaking to a gathering of party workers at a one day party convention in Beerwah constituency he said that non-NC governments in J&K have proved detrimental to the special status of state. “The basic structure of the state was entirely obliterated by the opportunistic forces that got a field day because of our absence. From 1953 to 1974, 37 amendments were made to the state constitution making a pale shadow of what it used to be before 1953,” he said.

Omar said the very identity of our state is facing an onslaught from all sides and the severity of the situation demands a strong mandated government of National Conference that will put up a strong front for safeguarding our special position. “Prime Minister Narender Modi insulted Late Mufti Syed in an open public platform. This would have impossible in a scenario if PDP had the numbers to run the government on its own. We have never seen such a thing happening in other states, where a sitting chief minister was publically humiliated,” he said adding that primary reason for that was a fractured mandate compounded with the fact that other alliance partners are always bound by central whip of party, which severely affects the working and maneuverability of government.


Omar said, “Coalition governments in J&K has proved detrimental to state’s interests and that the need of the hour is to have a strong nucleus to carry forward the agenda of peace, development and reconciliation.”

Among others Political Adviser to Omar Abdullah Tanvir Sadiq, Prof Abdul Majeed Mattoo, Muhammad Ibrahim Mir, Mirwaiz Central Kashmir Molvi Lateefullah, and Muhammad Amin Banday were also present on the occasion.

Omar asserted that National Conference is the only party with a clear road map to address internal and external dimensions of J&K.

Later Omar Abdullah visited many areas of the constituency amidst heavy snowfall. He made stopovers at various places where people apprised him about the issues concerning the constituency. He gave them a patient hearing and promised all possible help.

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Governor’s statement on Operation All Out far from reality: Joint Hurriyat



Srinagar, Jan 16:Joint Hurriyat  comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has termed the recent assertions of Governor Satya Pal Malik that “there was nothing like Operation All-Out” as far from reality and truth and stated that Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat have time and again claimed that anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir were being carried out under “Operation All-Out.”

The leadership in a statement issued  asked, “If it isn’t Operation All Out then what term would Governor like to give to daily cordon and search operations (CASO) conducted in South, North and Central Kashmir even in such harsh winter when youth are chased and killed while homes are blown up, booking any Kashmiri including youth activists leaders under draconian PSAs and shifting them to jails in and outside the state, confining resistance leaders to homes or jails arbitrarily at will and curbing their space and to connect with people especially those that are killed. Even Kashmiri students studying outside are harassed and targeted”.

Joint Hurriyat said that there are footprints of Indian army and other forces in every nook and corner of the Valley and genuine dissent and people’s voice regarding their sentiment is muzzled forcibly while every peaceful political space and activity is barred or foiled by the state through its military might.


They said that resistance leadership is confined to their homes for months and years together and that the “ultimate repression” is on full display across Kashmir, especially since past three years. “In fact, an all-out assault has been launched on all fronts including the judiciary to quell people’s aspirations and challenge our very existence as a nation,” they said.

“Militarization of the valley and unbridled powers given to forces under black laws especially AFSPA is the main reason behind the worst form of state aggression in Kashmir,” the leaders said.

The leadership said that Rajnath Singh and General Bipin Rawats claim that 200 armed youth are active in Kashmir; seven lakh Indian soldiers are present here. “What justification is there to keep over seven lakh forces in Kashmir to fight this minuscule number, except exert control over people by force?”

Joint Hurriyat said as per the figures available with the resistance camp, 2018 witnessed worst ever rights violations in Kashmir in recent past as 355 armed youth and 161 civilians were killed. “If this isn’t that operation all-out, then what is it?” they asked.

The leadership said that in last year, 4524 civilians especially youth were injured with lethal pellets while as the eyesight of 724 youth was snatched as pellets ruptured their eyes. “How can GoI justify this all?” the leadership questioned.

It said that the GoI’s targeting of the state subject law and article 35-A in a series of petitions lodged in Supreme Court in a bid to change the disputed status of the State is another form of this operation.

Meanwhile, the leadership said that as the hearing in 35-A is slated for January in the Supreme Court, the JRL is in constant touch with various sections of society that includes civil society, traders, academics religious groups, political parties, employees and other sections and a joint program will be announced as the date for hearing is announced.

The leadership said that entire Kashmir in unison will fight every single bid aimed at changing the disputed nature and the demography of the Muslim majority state

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To protect JK’s identity, we have to remain united: Farooq Abdullah



Srinagar, Jan 16: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday asserted that the choice of the people in the forth coming elections will decide their future.

While addressing a meet of party functionaries, workers at Barthana, Batamallo he said, “The state is faced with a critical situation. We are caught between devil and deep sea. And at this time the choice of the people will act as a pointer towards their future,” adding, “We have to show unity amongst ourselves to illustrate how passionate we are about our identity,” he said.

Asserting that there is no substitute to democracy and that in a democracy each life matters, he said, “People are yearning for development and peace. I am sure that with Omar in the forefront of the government, the state will be bequeathed with much needed peace and stability,” adding that safeguarding the interests of the state and its people forms the core of National Conference.


Dr Farooq also paid obeisance at the shrine of Shah Wali Sahab (RA). He prayed for peace and prosperity of the state.

General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar, senior leader Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Central Secretary Irfan Ahmad Shah, District president Peer Afaq, Provincial Secretary Showkat Mir and Advisor to Dr Farooq Mushtaq Guroo were also present on the occasion.

Dr Farooq while addressing the workers, who had gathered there braving the chill and incessant snowfall said, “Sher-e-Kashmir always wanted India and Pakistan to live in bonhomie, and that they always wanted all the traditional road connections to be resumed for the benefit of divided families,” adding that National Conference has always been the votary of peace between India and Pakistan.

Dr Farooq sought support of people for ex MLA Batamaloo Irfan Shah. “Service and sacrifice has been the motto of our party and I believe the Irfan shah including our other party functionaries will continue to work for the people keeping in view with the legacy of the party and its founding members,” he said.

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January 2019
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