Monday, 30th October 2017

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Fight to keep a dying art alive

Mughal miniature art on death bed

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 23.01.20, 12:05 AM
  • Updated 23.01.20, 12:05 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Mohammad Azam in Dhanbad on Wednesday Picture by Gautam Dey

Mohammed Azam, the last Mughal miniature art painter of India belonging to the Delhi School of (miniature) Art, has one question for the central government.

“If the government can promote Pahari School of Miniature Art and Rajasthani School of Miniature Art, then why can’t it promote Mughal miniature painting, which is lying on its death bed ?” Azam, told The Telegraph on the sidelines of three-day art fair being organised by Dhanbad-based art society India Telling at Multidisciplinary Hall on Luby Circular Road.

The fair was inaugurated on Wednesday by renowned painter Prabhakar Kolte.

Paintings by Azam on display at Dhanbad Art Fair at Multidisciplinary Hall on Luby Circular Road on Wednesday
Paintings by Azam on display at Dhanbad Art Fair at Multidisciplinary Hall on Luby Circular Road on Wednesday Picture by Gautam Dey

Azam, whose forefathers served as painters in the court of last Mughal emperor of India Bahadur Shah Zafar, said: “Indira Gandhi was a great admirer of Mughal miniature painting and had even planned to establish a museum of Mughal miniature paintings in Delhi.”

Even former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi also took keen interest in the Mughal miniature painting, Azam said, adding that he had expected him to set up the museum, but his untimely death in 1991 dashed all hopes.

A painting by Azam on display at Dhanbad Art Fair at Multidisciplinary Hall on Luby Circular Road on Wednesday
A painting by Azam on display at Dhanbad Art Fair at Multidisciplinary Hall on Luby Circular Road on Wednesday Picture by Gautam Dey

Azam, who now runs a small studio in Delhi’s Hauz Khas area, said none of his descendants had chosen this ancestral profession because of the uncertainty associated with it. There are very few takers for these paintings, he rued.

“Steps like the introduction of miniature paintings in the school and university curriculam can also help to revive the dying art,” he suggested.

“Besides paintings based on the palace life in the Mughal era and nature, I have made miniature paintings on krishna lila and samudra manthan based on Hindu mythology. I have also painted Chanakya’s court and Phulwalon ki sair (annual celebration of flower sellers of Delhi),”he said.

Another painting by Azam on display at Dhanbad Art Fair at Multidisciplinary hall on Luby Circular Road on Wednesday
Another painting by Azam on display at Dhanbad Art Fair at Multidisciplinary hall on Luby Circular Road on Wednesday Picture by Gautam Dey

Azam said he had painted over 50 Taj Mahal with different shades of colour to show how the look of the monument changes during the full moon night, dawn and dusk.

According to Azam, true miniature paintings can’t be made using the brush available in the market.

“I make by own brush using the hair from the tail of squirrels,” he added.

Azam thanked Dhanbad-based art critique, litterateur and journalist Abhishek Kashyap for organising the art fair and inviting him.

Kashyap, who is writing a book on Azam, lauded his dedication to preserve the old art form.