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Khush Khat, new hope for Kashmir’s lost art of calligraphy

Khush Khat, new hope for Kashmir’s lost art of calligraphy

Srinagar [India]: Kashmir, the Switzerland of India and Bollywood’s favorite site for romantic shoots, has more to offer than its breathtaking scenic beauty. One such example is its rich heritage in art and culture.

The Indian National Trust of Art Culture and Heritages (INTACH) J&K chapter, in collaboration with Department of Tourism, J&K, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages ( JKAACL), therefore, brought about an initiative to revive the lost art of Islamic calligraphy through “Khush Khat”, an exhibition that showcases works of legendary calligraphers of Srinagar city.

Held at Islamic Cultural Center Jamia Masjid Nowhatta, Srinagar, the exhibition depicts the rich past of old Srinagar city known as down town in present time.

According to Saleem Beig, organizer and incharge of INTACH J&K Chapter, calligraphy is popular in Kashmir even today, and is one of the two art forms -the other being shawl- that has been given the status of fine arts.

Speaking about the importance of organizing an event like KhushKhat, Beig said “I have full faith that if you want to revive this craft, then without beginning here it’ll not revive.”

The event also included a calligraphy workshop for children, conducted by six to seven master calligraphers.

Renowned artist Masood Ahmed, present at the event, expressed his elation on the initiative, “This is a first of its kind exhibition, and it’s a special one, [as] young artists, students, and calligraphers have made paintings in a contemporary way.”

“The tradition of calligraphy has been for a long can see [that] in old manuscripts. We can’t believe we had such beautiful calligraphy that has completely disappeared, and we want to revive it”, he added.

The unique exhibition saw a throng of visitors including poets, writers, scholars, historians and students. It was a major opportunity for many local calligraphers who had never found a platform for their work, and was appreciated by artists and visitors alike.

“This is a good step, and there must be more of this in future, because I have been in the field of calligraphy for seven years now, but until today, I had never got the opportunity to display my work,” said Ishfaq Ali, one of the calligraphers whose work was showcased.

Ishfaq Ali hoped the government would take more similar steps because, as per the artist, the local talent of calligraphy has been in Kashmir for 30 years.

Nahida Mir, a visitor, saw the exhibition as great help for letting people know of the local art, as people are only aware of the ill situations like stone-pelting.

“Wherever you go in the city, you can see the art, and it’s made by the local artists themselves”, she said.

Khush Khat, a celebration of Islamic calligraphy was a positive event in the otherwise distraught city, and was warmly received by the locals. (ANI)