GRADUATION PROJECT This is to certify that ______________________ has successfully completed her/his graduation project with _________________________________________________

in the area of ____________________ in the Fashion Communication Department (2005-2009) of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi. This is towards partial fulfillment of the requirement for granting Bachelor of Fashion Technology (Communication Design). Dated: Jury Members: _________________________ _________________________ _________________________

____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________

_________________________ Project Mentor

_________________________ Center Coordinator, FC Deptt.

____________________________ Chairperson, FC Deptt.

National Institute of Fashion Technology Fashion Communication Department

Degree Programme - Under Graduation Fashion Communication Graduation Project - Sunehri Syaahi, Crafts of India Area of Specialization - Photography and Research Internal Mentor - Mrs Anupreet Duggal Industry Mentor - Mrs Kamalini Sengupta, Mr Shambaditya Ghosh

Date of Submission - 14th May 2009 Submitted by - Kanika Gupta


I take this opportunity to thank INTACH for funding my graduation project and having faith in me. During my research on Calligraphy I got immense support from a lot of Calligraphers without which the two films that I have been able to make would have been impossible. I owe a lot to all the people of Tonk, Rajasthan and Arabic and Persian Research Institute, Tonk. Here I will specially mention Farooqiji, Mumtazji and Khursheedji who went out of their way to help me a number of times. I also owe a lot to Arnav Das and Manu Pandey without whom my film which is my graduation project would have never been a reality. Lastly I thank National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi and all faculty members of my department Fashion Communication for their support.

Kanika Gupta 10th May 2009

Graduation Project Brief



b Ta

le of Content

ICH Division

Sunehri Syaahi

Methodology and Research

Crafts of India

Lahul Smruti Film

Graduation Project Brief

Apart from the day to day work and different assignments given by the organization, to work on documentation of crafts of India, then especially focus on Islamic Calligraphy, document all the primary data available, and then make a complete documentation film on the particular style of calligraphy in Tonk, Rajasthan and the calligraphers connected to it.

All that has been done as part of Intangible Cultural Heritage team has been related to art and craft particularly. Beginning with a simple documentation of the various crafts of India, a photo documentation of the various craft events happening in Delhi was also done. Then with a special focus on Islamic Calligraphy as a declining craft, a lot of primary research was done and various calligraphers from Delhi and outside were interviewed and profiled. Tonk, Rajasthan was found to have a very distinct style of calligraphy which was then documented on video as well as on a still photography camera. This came out as a documentary film on this craft.

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a nationwide, non-profit membership organization. INTACH was set up in 1984 to protect and conserve India's vast natural and cultural heritage.

ICH Division
INTACH recognizes that Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) includes the following, as defined in the UNESCO Convention on ICH, and works in these areas: Oral traditions, including languages Performing arts Social practices, rituals & festive events Knowledge & practices on nature, universe traditional craftsmanship.

INTACH is evolving its role in the arena of India's rich intangible cultural heritage through: Identifying, documenting & researching its wide ranging constituents, Advocacy in the case of endangered or threatened constituents, Dissemination of awareness.

Sunehri Syaahi
Tonk, a small city some 95kms from Jiapur, Rajasthan still has a long forgotten tradition of Calligraphy going on. Though very few, there are Islamic calligraphers here who still make a living out of their art. Here in Tonk this art developed a lot in the last two centuries and formed a very distinct style of its own. One would usually get to see a lot of golden and sheen. Artworks are made on parchment and shiny paper. A lot of illumination and decoration is also done using a variety of miniature and floral motifs. This film is an attempt to document the works of these Calligraphers and their work.


“Read! And thy Lord is most Bountiful; He who bestowed knowledge through the pen. He taught man that which he knew not.” “Aee Huzur apni syaahi ko ek rang duu Jo Pegaam hai usko ek dhang duu Do mujhe ek naya savera, Sooraj ki kirno se Isko mai sunhera kar duu !!”

Legend holds it that once upon a time Calligraphy witnessed its golden age when Nawab Amir Khan laid the foundation of the princely state of Tonk. 'Sunheri Syaahi' takes a leap into the historically significant town of Tonk and tries peeking into the lives of these masters of penmanship whose existence has remained behind the closed windows away from worthy appraisals and recognition leading to fruitless and mean degradation. It establishes the town as the most prominent calligraphy cluster all over India which has humbly accommodated the most skilled calligraphers and calligraphic craftsmen. An elaborate discussion and interview with these artists enabled Sunheri Syaahi to enter the glorified eyes of these calligraphers and artists behind which lies a dream – a dream to see the art thrive and tales of their work be inscribed in Sunheri Syaahi.

Methodology and Research

This is some basic secondary study which helped in the understanding of Islamic Calligraphy as an art.

Deewani script is an Ottoman development parallel to Shikasteh (broken style). The script was largely developed by the accomplished calligrapher Ibrahim Munif in the late 15th century from the Turkish/Persian Ta'liq. Deewani reached its zenith in the 17th century, thanks to the famous calligrapher Shala Pasha. Like Riq'a, Deewani became a favorite script for writing in the Ottoman chancellery. Deewani is excessively cursive and highly structured with its letters undotted and unconventionally joined together. It uses no vowel marks. Deewani also developed an ornamental variety called Deewani Jali which also was known as Humayuni (Imperial). The development of Deewani Jali is credited to Hafiz Uthman. The spaces between the letters are spangled with decorative devices which do not necessarily have any orthographic value. Deewani Jali is highly favored for ornamental purposes.

"Allah is the Great" (A common saying)

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint". (From the Holy Qur'an: Surah: 2, Al-Baqarah, verse: 183.)

In The Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful "But the Bounty of your Lord - rehearse and proclaim!". (From the Holy Qur'an: Surah: 93, Ad-Duha, verse: 11)

"Those who teach me have my everlasting respect" (A common saying)

Kufi was the dominant priestly script in early times. It was created after the establishment of the two Muslim cities of Basrah and Kufah in the second decade of the Islamic era (8th century A.D.). The script has specific proportional measurements, along with pronounced angularity and squareness. It became known as al-Khat al-Kufi (Kufi script). Kufi script had a profound effect on all Islamic calligraphy. In contrast to its low verticals, Kufi has horizontal lines that are extended. The script is considerably wider than it is high. This gives it a certain dynamic momentum. The script often is chosen for use on oblong surfaces. With its glorious Handasi (geometrical) construction, Kufi could be adapted to any space and material -- from silk squares to the architectural monuments left by Timur at Samarqand. Because Kufi script was not subjected to strict rules, calligraphers employing it had virtually a free hand in the conception and execution of its ornamental forms.

The most unique variants of Kufic script are: Al-Kufi al-Mukhammal: The writing stands out against a background of floral and geometric designs superimposing the movement of the script over the movement of the underlying pattern. Al-Kufi al-Muzaffar: The flow of the words blends beautifully in a unique way with the movement of the stressed and dense vertical letters. Al-Kufi al-Handasi: The composition is based on the intertwining of geometric shapes -- including circles, squares, and triangles -- with the words. These ornamental Kufic versions were applied to the surfaces of artistic and architectural objects including surfaces of stucco, wood, tile, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, and bricks.



"There is no God who truly deserves to be worshipped but Allah alone and Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) is the messenger of Allah." (The profession of faith in Islam)

"He Who taught (the writing) by the Pen" (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah: 96, Al- 'Alaq, Verse: 4)

"Mohammed" (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah: 48, Al-Fat'h, verse: 29)


Naskh was one of the earliest scripts to evolve. It gained popularity after being redesigned by the famous calligrapher Ibn Muqlah in the 10th century. Because of Ibn Muqlah's comprehensive system of proportion, Naskh style displays a very rhythmic line. Naskh later was reformed by Ibn al-Bawaab and others into an elegant script worthy of the Qur'an -- and more Qur'ans have been written in Naskh than in all the other scripts together. Since the script is relatively easy to read and write, Naskh appealed particularly to the general population. Naskh is usually written with short horizontal stems -- and with almost equal vertical depth above and below the medial line. The curves are full and deep, the uprights straight and vertical, and the words generally well spaced. Currently, Naskh is considered the supreme script for almost all Muslims and Arabs around the world.

"Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn" (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah: 113, Al-Falaq, Verse: 1)

"Praise be to Allah; the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds;" (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah 1, Al-Fatiha (The Opening))

"In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful" (The Basmalah)

"Say: Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us:He is our Protector: and on Allah let the Believers put their trust." (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah: Repentance, 9, Verse: 51)

"...So proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers" (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah: 9, At-Tauba, Verse: 112.)

This script, also called Ruq'ah (small sheet), evolved from Naskh and Thuluth. Although Riq'a has a close affinity with Thuluth, Riq'a developed in a different direction. Riq'a became simplified. The geometric forms of the letters are similar to those of Thuluth but are smaller with more curves. Riq'a is rounded and densely structured with short horizontal stems, and the letter alif is never written with barbed heads. Riq'a was one of the favorite scripts of Ottoman calligraphers and underwent many improvements at the hand of Shaykh Hamdullah al-Amasi. Later, Riq'a was revised by other calligraphers and went on to become the most popular and widely used script. Today, Riq'a is the preferred script for handwriting throughout the Arab world.

When we do good, the good around us is revealed. (A common saying)

"In The Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful” (Basmalah)

Through the acquisition of knowledge, we become philosophers. But those who believe they have come to know all, know nothing." (Proverb)

Those who do good are remembered forever. Those who do bad are soon forgotten. (Proverb)

Ta'liq (hanging) script is believed to have been developed by the Persians from an early and little known Arabic script called Firamuz. Ta'liq, also called Farsi, is an unpretentious cursive script apparently in use since the early 9th century. The calligrapher Abd al-Hayy, from the town of Astarabad, seems to have played an important role in the script’s early development. He was encouraged by his patron, Shah Isma'il, to lay down the basic rules for the writing of Ta'liq. The script is currently in great favor with Arabs, and it is the native calligraphic style among the Persian, Indian, and Turkish Muslims. The Persian calligrapher Mir Ali Sultan al-Tabrizi developed from Ta'liq a lighter and more elegant variety which came to be known as Nasta'liq. However, Persian and Turkish calligraphers continued to use Ta'liq as a monumental script for important occasions. The word Nasta'liq is a compound word derived from Naskh and Ta'liq. Ta'liq and Nasta'liq scripts were used extensively for copying Persian anthologies, epics, miniatures, and other literary works -- but not for the Holy Qur'an.

Success only comes from Allah. In Him I trust and to Him I look. (A common saying)

"O you who believe! seek help with patient Preservance and Prayer: for Allah is with those who patiently preserve." (From the Holy Qur'an: Surah: 48, Al-Baqara, verse: 153)

"Say: Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us:He is our Protector: and on Allah let the Believers put their trust." (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah: Repentance, 9, Verse: 51)

"...Thee do we worship, and thine aid do we seek" (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah 1, Al-Fatiha (The Opening)

Thuluth script was first formulated in the 7th century during the Umayyad caliphate, but it did not develop fully until the late 9th century. The name means 'a third' -- perhaps because of the proportion of straight lines to curves, or perhaps because the script was a third the size of another popular contemporary script. Though rarely used for writing the Holy Qur'an, Thuluth has enjoyed enormous popularity as an ornamental script for calligraphic inscriptions, titles, headings, and colophons. It is still the most important of all the ornamental scripts. Thuluth script is characterized by curved letters written with barbed heads. The letters are linked and sometimes intersecting, thus engendering a cursive flow of ample and often complex proportions. Thuluth is known for its elaborate graphics and remarkable plasticity.

"There is no God who truly deserves to be worshipped but Allah alone and Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) is the messenger of Allah" (The profession of faith in Islam)

"(Moses) said: O my Lord! exapnd me my chest; Ease my task for me;" (From the Holy Qur'an: Surah: 20, Ta-Ha, verse: 25)

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other)." (From the Holy Qur'an: Surah: 49, Ar-Hujurat, Verse: 13.)

"Allah! There is no god but He, - the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass anything of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory)." (From the Holy Qur'an, Surah 2, Al-Baqarah, V255.) Unique Calligraphic Collections

The development of Arabic calligraphy led to the creation of several decorative styles that were designed to accommodate special needs or tastes and to please or impress others. The most outstanding of these techniques or scripts are Gulzar, Maraya or Muthanna, Zoomorphic, Siyaqat, and al-Khat al-Hurr. Gulzar: Gulzar is defined by Safadi (1979) in Islamic Calligraphy as the technique of filling the area within the outlines of relatively large letters with various ornamental devices, including floral designs, geometric patterns, hunting scenes, portraits, small script, and other motifs. Gulzar is often used in composite calligraphy where it is also surrounded by other decorative units and calligraphic panels. Maraya or Muthanna: Maraya or Muthanna is the technique of mirror writing in which the composition on the left reflects the composition on the right. Zoomorphic: In zoomorphic calligraphy, the words are manipulated and structured into the shape of a human figure, a bird, an animal, or an object. Safadi notes that Thuluth, Naskh, and Nasta'liq scripts are extensively applied to create such calligraphic compositions.

Tughra: Tughra is a unique calligraphic device that is used as a royal seal. The nishanghi or tughrakesh is the only scribe specialized in writing Tughra. The emblems became quite ornate and were particularly favored by Ottoman officialdom. Siyaqat: Siyaqat is another style developed and favored by the Ottomans; it was used in chancelleries and courts. Siyaqat has a close affinity with Kufic script where the lines are straight and heavy and relatively angular.

al-Khat al-Hurr: Al-Khat al-Hurr may be the most modern calligraphic script and was developed in different parts of the Arab world in the 1980s. This free-style script does not follow a pre-set pattern but typically is elegant and highly stylized. It is excessively cursive, and the curves display marked contrast in line width. A curve might change abruptly from the heaviest possible line a pen can create to the thinnest possible line from the same pen.

Primary Research
Ghalib Academy, Near Nizamuddin Dargah Calligraphy was taught here 6 to 8 months back. The course has now been shut because there are no takers. Many calligraphers like Mr Abu Bkr ji say that they learnt calligraphy from here in the past. Urdu Ghar I.T.O (Ring Road) Here again calligraphy classes used to take place but were stopped some 4 years ago because there were no takers. Most people have now shifted to computers and typewriters. Calligraphy, of which the main purpose is understood to be able to convey information in today's times is not taken as an art. Thus manually done one sentence takes far more time in comparison to the same sentence done on typewriter or computer. Thus the value and the art are on the verge of a complete decline. Iran Culture House Tilak Marg, near India Gate Mr Majid Ahmady Now works in Iran Culture House. He used to do calligraphy before. He had an exhibition of his work at the National Museum 4 years back. He has also delivered lectures and seminars on the subject of calligraphy in the same place. According to him the art of calligraphy is at its decline in India. Due to the coming of computers nobody cares about calligraphy anymore. Thus there are very few genuine artists left. In the past 10 years people doing calligraphy have slowly moved on to newspapers.

Ms Safara Works in Iran Culture House. She is rewriting a book in Nastaliq which is written in Naskh. She is here only for 2 years and will then go back to her hometown Iran. She started learning calligraphy as a child at an age of 8 years. Since then she has been practicing this art. Iran Culture house has 4 to 5 more calligraphers who are Delhi based working as calligraphers. Jama Masjid There is one calligrapher here who is still practicing. However he earns out of writing books in Arabic and Urdu. He has been interviewed by 'The Hindu'. There are also a few articles that he has written on calligraphy which have been published in the papers.

Calligraphy schools and classes have been shutting down. However there are still pockets of areas all across India where calligraphy is still practiced. But even these are slowly declining. Calligraphers are very few. Most of them shifted to newspapers long ago. Whatever few remain do not have many students or followers. Some have none at all. Small villages of Uttar Pradesh like Mau have some small calligraphers left. However in these kind of area and Jaunpur particularly this art and the art of making bamboo pens is still being taught in Madarsas. Children here learn to write the Urdu alphabet on wooden tablets with bamboo pens (kalam). In Luckhnow calligraphy is also embroidered on cloth. Some calligraphers are still practicing here as well. Rampur Raza library, Rampur and Aligarh University both in Uttar Pradesh also have books and calligraphers. Khudabaksh library in Patna has some masterpieces and calligraphers. Arabic and Persian Research Institute, Tonk, Rajasthan has calligraphers and some calligraphers practice a very distinct style of calligraphy here. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh has Urdu Research Center.

RAZA ZAIDI Highly influenced by Arabic, Persian and Urdu Calligraphy, Raza Zaidi is a well versed craftsman in 'Calligraphic Painting'. Calligraphic Painting is an extended version of the traditional calligraphy in which an artist uses brush instead of a reed pen, applies paint on canvas in place of writing with ink on paper. He utilizes a combination of words and letters to produce skillfully designed Calligraphic Paintings. Usage of variety of bold primary colors can be seen in Raza Zaidi's work. Words in form of calligraphic text on rocks & stones, contemporary designs such as rocket launchers with calligraphic text painted on it can also be spotted easily. Sometimes light and shade are used to produce the three dimensional effect which is considered to be an important step forward in the field of calligraphy. Abundantly inspired by the art form Raza Zaidi has sought out examples of calligraphy, hidden away in museums and libraries in the west and sought to revitalize this eight centuries old art in the form of painting through color and through form. In his attempt to bring the art's relevance to the present generation a lot of 'Calligrams' will be found in his work, the common one being the bird calligram. This manner in which calligraphy is used for its symbolic representation of the non-representable he believes is the form of visual poetics.

His works

His Work

AGHA MOHAMMAD HASSAN Imagining the varied range of pulses which we normally eat in our everyday lives taking shape of Quranic verses and poetry is one of the holiest thoughts. This thought has been transformed into reality by Agha Mohammad Hassan from Lucknow who has realized it with the help of decorating Islamic Calligraphy with Pulses (Dal). To beautify its appearance mostly figurative are used and are then embellished with Pulses. The different kinds of pulses make the art work look more aesthetically appealing in terms of colors, shape and form. The figurative generally used by Agha Mohammad Hassan in his work are floral designs, flower vase, minarets to name a few.


Little did he knew, when he started writing, that Limca Book of Records awaits this master calligrapher. A 5000+ calligraphy designs tucked under his belt, Hashim Akhtar Naqvi's inclination towards calligraphy was realized way back in school, when he frequently labeled the notebooks of his classmates with their names written in beautiful artistic forms. Hashim Akhtar Naqvi from Lucknow was inspired by the calligraphy of his father Late Hasan Akhtar, who died when Hashim was barely two years old. With numerous awards and recognition Hashim Akhtar Naqvi is no new name in the field of Islamic Calligraphy. His journey from the phase of copying his father's designs and transforming them into new age contemporary designs is a long journey. He started by making his own designs of the names 'Panj-Tans' and 'Imams' in his adolescent age. Hashim Akhtar Naqvi took calligraphy at the behest of 'Janab Maulana Kalbe Abid, Mujtahid' which led to his first representation of 786 designs (also considered numerically holy) in 1986 and a further increase to 5000 designs in 1991. Recognised by the Limca book of records for his unique venture, his feature is included under 'Endeavour' in Limca Book of Records from 1991, 1992, 1993 and so on. The collection of the artist was recently displayed in the capital at the Indira Gandhi national centre for arts, as part of the programme, Aqeedat ke Rang, an exhibition of expressions of devotion in Islam. His accolades includes 'First Prize for the Innovative Calligraphy at All India Competition of Calligraphy organized by Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages, Srinagar in 1989', 'Tauheed-ul-Muslimeen Trust awarded certificate of merit 1991-1992'. Out of total 113 Bismillah... designs the Dar-ul-Quaran publishers used 52 Bismillah... designs for their 'Al Quaran' (Waraqi). Hashim Akhtar Naqvi's exemplary technique of practicing art of calligraphy in the 'Ghair-e-Tahsili', i.e. non conventional form has credited him with the sole person to make efforts of 'Indianising Bishmillah's Inscriptions' (which is usually in Arabic). He has successfully designed over 3000 designs of the phrase “Bismillah-ir-Rehman-ir-Raheem” (in the name of god the merciful and compassionate). Hashim Akhtar Naqvi has also developed a set of designs where the inscription assembles that of Indian languages like Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya and Bengali. Some of them are also in English and other similar languages.

His works

His works

IRSHAD HUSSAIN FAROOQUI A self taught, self disciplined and self dependent practitioner of the rarest crafts in India, artist Irshad Farooqui is arguably the one and only calligrapher in India who produces Islamic Calligraphy on Wood. Pertaining to a family background of Hakeems (Unani Medicine Practitioners) and renowned Sufi Saints, unlikely Irshad Farooqui was never destined to become a Calligrapher. Born in Sikar, Rajasthan Irshad Farooqui belongs to the dynasty of 'Khalifa Sufi Hamimudeen Naagori'. During his childhood days Irshad Farooqui always saw one of his relatives – 'Mastan Baba' writing calligraphy. He was so brilliant with his work that made not only Irshad Farooqui awe inspired but also the on-lookers who stood by to witness an expeditious calligraphic writing displayed by 'Mastan Baba'. This was his first input which he received and immediately made him fall in love with the art form. The growing age and academic pressure somewhere somehow diluted and diverted his wish to practice calligraphy. He completed his B.A. in 1981, M.A. in 1983 from the University of Rajasthan. He then pursued P.G. Diploma in Journalism and completed it in 1984. Always medically fit Irshad Farooqui then got enrolled in The Rajasthan State Flying School. After completing the first two levels of his flying training and obtaining a student and a Private flying license Irshad farooqui was unable to continue with his further flying lessons due to financial constraints that left his dream of becoming a pilot unrealized. But, always filled with feelings of Positivity and Hope, Irshad Farooqui decided to move to Delhi and look for alternatives. Continuously coping with financial problems and challenges Irshad Farooqui joined a newspaper publication house 'Nayi Duniya' and Awam Dainik' as a sub-editor on a meager salary of Rs. 2500.

Experiencing sleepless nights and days, when he doesn't use to have a penny to his pocket, Irshad Farooqui never lost hope and his faith in Allah. During an exhibition in Iran Cluture House in Delhi which Irshad Farooqui happened to visit, graphically displayed he saw some samples on calligraphy which influenced him and moreover rekindled the desire in him to practice this art from years ago when he used to see Mastan Baba as a child. Seeing the samples, he proposed a unique style of calligraphy to himself, the art of doing calligraphy on wood. But, to practice that form of craft a prior knowledge in writing calligraphy was necessarily needed. He decided to enroll into a two year programme at Ghalib Academy (Hazrat Nizammudin), New Delhi to learn the nuances of Urdu Calligraphy. Slowly and gradually moving to realize his innovative concept on calligraphy Irshad Farooqui learnt Islamic Calligraphy Writing under the guidance of 'Ustaad Anees Siddiqui' at the Ghalib Academy. Without looking back Irshad Farooqui started to excel in his long lost love under the mentorship of Ustaad Anees Siddiqui. In independent India, the best contribution towards Urdu Calligraphy has been made by Master Khalik Tonki and his disciple tradition which includes Master Anees Siddiqui, Master Khurshid Alam and Irshad Farooqui himself.

The enthusiasm of Irshad Farooqui to transfer the art to an entire new medium kept his spirits up even in difficult times. He never forgets to mention that Allah has been very kind to him and has always sent somebody as an angel in disguise to purchase his pieces. His dedication and devotion to this art form can be seen in the modeled pieces which he had made with constant hard work and patience. The very first design which was modeled out of his hands was of a 'Surahi' (A water Urn). Conceptualization from basic and simple designs he further expanded into more complicated and complex designs.

In general Calligraphy is two dimensional, however, efforts to produce it on wood and metal have been made, of which the only and the most unique work has been shown by Irshad Farooqui. Recently being chosen for the National Award, Irshad Farooqui believes that wood presentation of a three dimensional Calligraphy is in itself the creation of a new mode; in which chemical processes in the furnace is used to prepare the high quality of dried solid rubber wood. Traditional design (Thugra) on paper cannot be replicated on wood, therefore, according to the nature of the wood the calligraphy, without violations of the original rules, they are modified and then molded on wood. All these geometric creations are based on the principles of balance which makes it possible to present a balanced tone in all directions of the wooden calligraphy piece. The process through which he carves Islamic inscriptions on wooden pieces is entirely customized. In the beginning of the work process concrete panels of wood of various sizes are cut according to need. With the help of a wooden saw medium the wood is made smooth and even from both the sides and the smoother part is glued to the set design. The respective design is cut off with a simple scroll saw which is partially controlled by his fingers, and thus, the background wood is removed. The remaining part of the design on the wood is eliminated and the wood is made smooth, flat and even from all sides to ensure that no trace of roughness remains on the surface. To give the wooden piece a shining effect, a white waxy polish is applied to the surface. It is then pasted to a wooden base and is covered with a transparent acrylic case. His artwork has been priced from Rs. 200 to Rs. 1.25 lacs, the same design been chosen for the national award. A patriot, his love for his country is reflected in his deepest desire to make a design (which he's currently working on) that shall be the only of its sort in the world. With a wish to make India proud his artwork will be embedded with precious jewels and gemstones. Aware of the grave situation and an endangered future of this art form he even suggests preventive measures that should be implemented to save this dying art of Calligraphy. His advices to the Government of India to establish Calligraphic art galleries in the capital's prime and posh locations which shall enable increased awareness and recognition of the art are crucial for its revival. Irshad Farooqui believes that this art is a result of full concentration, dedication and patience. Whoever wishes to learn this art form is required to have a fundamental knowledge in Calligraphy Writing. The goal of this type of art in society is to spread peace, harmony, brotherhood and unity.


His work

Calligraphy on wood

ABU BAKR QUASMI Well versed in writing all Islamic Scripts Abu Bakr Quasmi, a 47 year old calligrapher from New Delhi has been practicing calligraphy from his childhood days. Born and brought up in Samastipur, Bihar, Abu Bakr's inclination towards this art was not sudden. His love for arts and drawing made him take up calligraphy as a profession. During his college days, the student's union monthly magazine's (Anjuman) cover page rarely went unnoticed – his beautifully designed front covers were not only liked by student's but also foreign tourists. His extraordinary mastery in almost all scripts can be credited to his discipleship under various known calligraphers in different towns of India. The first script which he learnt and wrote was 'Nastaliq'. Presently working with Iran Culture House from the past one and a half years Abu Bakr has managed to produce artistic calligraphic writings from the holy Quaran on mediums like Paper (handmade and regular) and camel skin. Since, almost all of his works are transported to other countries; Abu Bakr has never been identity conscious. His work, he claims is in the name of God and what should be transferred and understood is the message conveyed, not his identity.

Profoundly informed, Abu Bakr displays a great insight into the history of calligraphy. With all the required knowledge of its beginning and its present state, Abu Bakr too wishes to caution the Government of India about the grave situation of Islamic Calligraphy in India. Suggesting seminars, exhibitions and periodical workshops on Islamic Calligraphy Abu Bakr also seeks for an opportunity that shall revive the art form. Of all his disciples he taught in Samastipur, Sabir Ahmad remains the only calligrapher who still practices this art form. His few destinations from where he learned the art more precisely and elaborately were Jaunpur, Deoband and New Delhi. After learning calligraphy from Abdul Kadir in Jaunpur, he attended the first calligraphy class at Deoband. The excitement to nurture his art skills in calligraphy didn't fell weak, as he made his way to the The Ghalib Academy, New Delhi and got enrolled in the calligraphy programme which has produced excellent calligraphers. Under the guidance of 'Khalik Tonki', one of the most renowned calligraphers of India he mastered the art. His dedication and devotion acquired him a class to teach in his hometown Samastipur, Bihar in Urdu Calligraphy. After returning, Abu Bakr got selected for an official visit to Baghdad with Khalik Tonki on accounts of Exhibition of Calligraphic Works in India. Representing India in a foreign land for an art which is very close to his heart made him write his Travelogue to Baghdad in Urdu Calligraphy. Of his assignments for N.B.T. (National Book Trust), he calligraphed the translation of a Bengali novel in Urdu and wrote several Children Books in Urdu.

An amazingly skilled writer Abu Bakr possesses an entire collection of pens which he uses to write the variety of texts he produces. The pen used depends upon the size of the text and the script in which he is going to write. For thicker texts he generally uses a compass fitted with two pencils to make the text look thick and bold. To make his work more commercially viable and beautiful Abu Bakr also decorates his pieces. Giving artistic designs as borders to his works he uses floral motifs and creepers to beautify it. Those designs are filled with a variety of pastel colors to make it livelier. The most commonly used and easily available medium he considers is paper. Having worked for a number of associations and organizations and having produced an ensemble of different works, he now wishes to write only Quran. He believes that his act of now writing only Quran will not only make him a better human being but also sanctify him.

His tools and work

His work

Mohammad Javed Abbasi Belonging to a family where Academics took a foremost seat Mohammad Javed Abbasi a Nizamuddin, Delhi based calligrapher never imagined calligraphy as a profession. A M.A in History, Mohammad Javed Abbasi was always inclined towards arts and designing. His short span of experience as an Interior designer made him more exposed towards the concepts of design and art. With no formal training in calligraphy Mohammad Javed Abbasi evolved the concept of calligraphy with reed. Calligraphic writings are decorated with reeds on a black background (generally a velvet covered board) in all of his craftwork. He believes his education played an important role in making what he is today, he prefers himself to be referred as an educated skilled craftsman. His intentions to pursue M.Phil did not grew into reality due to excessive financial pressures which led him to a decision to cater to his desire to do something in the field of art with which he always felt closely attached. In his initials years of development of this art onto a new medium Mohammad Javed Abbasi had to struggle through tough times. From his days when only a few countable buyers were available only in a certain time period, he did not lose hope and devoted all his concentration, patience and hard work into this art form. With a help of few calligraphers he manufactured his pieces and marketed the end product which gradually gained awareness and orders simultaneously.

He cites two prominent reasons for the decline of this art, one being the lack of Primary level education in calligraphy to school students and the other being the Government support and motivation which still remains completely missing. Having being invited to Iran for an exhibition of his craftwork on calligraphy Mohammad Javed Abbasi got this opportunity in 2002 to visit Iran and experience the international perspective on his art. He utilized his learning and understanding to apply to his newly discovered medium of craft on calligraphy. His implementation of the knowledge gained from an International journey made him economically stable which further helped him expanding his range of work. Few of his disciples who are still practicing the art and have introduced it to the market to make it more commercial are located in the Nizamuddin and nearby areas. His sister, a student of the second batch of the calligraphy class at the Ghalib Academy, New Delhi was a student of Master Khaleeq Tonki. Having had a trained calligrapher in a family, young Mohammad Javed Abbasi always fetched the chance to see her sister completing her calligraphy writings. This identification with the art somewhere ignited his passion for it and a want to continue the legacy in a unique manner which her sister was unable to pursue after marriage. His artwork is not only restricted to the Islamic calligraphy, he along with Arabic scripts produces craft in 'Gurmukhi' and other Hindu languages also. His exhibitions has been held at various places in India, recently been at Amritsar where he received tremendous appreciation for his work. His pieces range from Rs 350/- to Rs. 8000/-. As the cost increases the design, intricacy and complexity of design increases. The process through which an entire piece is prepared requires not only concentration but also neatness and visual clarity which is specific to this art form. The first step includes writing of the script in which the piece is to be produced in reversed order. The Reed is then cut and pasted onto the bold calligraphy paper cuttings with a water based rubber adhesive in its purest and natural form. The reed is generally obtained from the areas besides railway lines as it is a self producing plant. It can also be sourced from Sadar Bazaar during the rainy seasons when the rain destroys the natural production of reed. After the pasting, the extra reed is cut along the sides of the bold calligraphy cut-outs. Then these cut outs are pasted on the black velvet board. This step needs extreme concentration and caution so that the adhesives doesn't spoil the background and is not left stained. It is ensured by special care with the help of small tools to hold the calligraphy paper cut-outs and paste it with prime accuracy and precise neatness. Mohammad Javed Abbasi has managed to produce these skillfully designed pieces with an excellent detailed and precision gifted in his eyes.

His work

His works

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