An event to recall the glorious Shahr-e-Khas

An event to recall the glorious Shahr-e-Khas
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SRINAGAR: A seven day art exhibition of Islamic Calligraphy began at Islamic Cultural Center, Jamia Masjid Nowhatta Srinagar. The aim of the event is to celebrate the spirit of Shehr-e-Khas and Islamic calligraphy in Kashmir.
For the first time, such event was organized at the downtown area of Srinagar, known for keeping the Kashmiri tradition vibrant and alive.
Mohammad Amin Kundangar, a master craftsman, raised the curtain at the event. He believes that the art is declining and efforts should be made to revive it.
He said that besides learning the art of doing intricate design on gold jewelry, he too imbibed the art of calligraphy. He said, “I was influenced by one of my neighbors Peer Mohammad Afzal Makhdoomi who showed me a little bit of this art.”
Masood Hussain, an artist calls the event as an effort to inspire the younger generation who are interested in Islamic Calligraphy. “Tradition is important part of calligraphy. We had manuscripts in Persian, Arabic and Urdu but with time, the art faded.”
Islamic Calligraphy has seven major styles – Kufi, Naskh, Thulth, Riqa, Muhaqqaq, Diwani and Nastaliq, with hundred styles coming out of it.
The live demonstration was presented by artists and instructors in which many people particularly school children took part in learning various techniques of the art.
Saima Malik, an instructor of JK Cultural Academy said that the art is all about techniques. “One should know techniques like twisting a pen or dragging a pen. Another technique is holding your breath while styling an alphabet.”
She said that the art has lost scope because of modern technology. “Computer has replaced this art but we teach calligraphy on software called Inpage so we are trying to imbibe the technology”.
Saleem Beg, Convenor J&K, Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage said that an initiative is to be taken to revive the art. “The downtown Srinagar which is rich in tradition, art and architecture, has been labeled by so many names from past years. It’s an attempt to revive that essence. The art is confined to some areas of downtown Srinagar and with the seven day long event, we want to spread it more,” he said.
The week-long event is organized by INTACH Kashmir, in collaboration with Department of Tourism J&K, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (JKAACL) and Skill Pro Kashmir.