‘Art has no faith’: Hindu man paints Quranic verses on mosques

‘Art has no faith’: Hindu man paints Quranic verses on mosques

New Delhi, India – Self-taught calligraphy artist Anil Kumar Chowhan has written Quranic verses in Arabic on the partitions of greater than 200 mosques round India in a profession spanning 30 years.

Based in Hyderabad, the 50-year-old’s ardour for calligraphy was ignited whereas portray signboards for retailers across the southern Indian metropolis in Urdu to earn a modest dwelling.

“I belonged to a really poor Hindu household and had to surrender my research after class tenth to assist my household. I used to be good at drawing, so I assumed why not leverage this talent to take up signboard portray as a profession,” he says.

Chowhan says he has additionally painted 30 temples with photographs of Hindu gods and goddesses, in addition to numerous dargahs (mausoleums) and monasteries.

“While for over a 100 mosques, I used to be paid a hadiya [remuneration], I labored without spending a dime for the opposite 100. I felt a religious connect with the locations which prevented me from demanding compensation,” says the artist who earns about $350 a month via his freelance assignments throughout the nation.

Calligrapher and artist Anil Kumar Chowhan engaged on an Islamic portray [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

Chowhan says he didn’t attend any formal or Islamic college to study the Arabic script or the Urdu language.

“It was throughout my portray assignments that I discovered to learn and write Urdu. Soon individuals began acknowledging my expertise and gave me alternatives to beautify landmark architectures across the metropolis with the verses of the Quran,” he says.

In Hyderabad, 30 years again, says the calligrapher, it was essential to put in writing signboards in Urdu as the vast majority of town’s inhabitants and shopkeepers had been Muslim. So he had no selection however to turn into acquainted with the language.

But slowly, whereas writing in Urdu with out understanding it, he says he fell in love with the script.

“Over time, I began recognising the phrases and alphabets and slowly and organically developed an curiosity in it. In my spare time, I began writing the Urdu script, copying phrases from textbooks which additional helped my craft,” he says.

Chowhan says he didn’t attend any formal or Islamic college to study the Arabic script [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

Chowhan says he bagged his first huge task within the Nineties when he was requested to beautify Hyderabad’s iconic Noor Mosque with the verses of the Quran.

“I used to be over the moon. Bagging that huge task was proof that not solely was my expertise recognised, however that I had additionally obtained the stamp of approval from town’s elite which might open doorways for me. And it did.”

But life was not with out its share of challenges. Some locals opposed Chowhan’s work as a result of he was a Hindu.

Determined to pursue his profession, nevertheless, he secured a “fatwa” (decree) from Jamia Nizamia University in Hyderabad to proceed as an artist. The college administration, already impressed with the artist’s work, had hung his piece de resistance – a six feet-by-four ft (183cmx122cm) canvas of Surah Yasin, an essential chapter from the Quran – in the principle gallery.

One of the Indian mosques painted by Chowhan [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

Today, the identical locals who raised objections at his work name him a “religious soul” and bow with respect in entrance of him.

“I imagine artwork has no faith. God, Allah, Jesus: they’re all one. And we’re God’s youngsters. Today, most of my mates are Muslims. We eat collectively, hang around collectively, take part in mehfils [gatherings] and enrich one another’s lives,” says Chowhan, who additionally dabbles in Urdu poetry and is commonly invited to town’s gatherings to recite his couplets.

Chowhan can be planning to organise an exhibition of his Quranic work.

Has he inspired his two youngsters – a boy and a woman, each of their 20s – to take up his occupation?

“I’m not the kind of one who forces my resolution on my household. Nobody pressured me to take up this artwork both; it was an inside calling. Similarly, I’ve left my youngsters’ profession decisions to them. Both are graduates and have good jobs in non-public firms. They are very joyful,” he says.

Chowhan is now planning to organise an exhibition of his Quranic work [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

However, Chowhan is joyful that his youthful brother assists him in his work and so they typically pair as much as do assignments collectively. They additionally journey to neighbouring Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra states for work.

Chowhan admits he’s not “wealthy” however has sufficient to deal with his and his household’s wants. There are lean days in fact, after which there are spells when he’s working 16 hours a day to meet up with deadlines.

“During the holy month of Ramzan, I’m the busiest, transferring shortly from one mosque to a different to present out Allah’s message of peace via my artwork. But it doesn’t really feel like work. I really like doing such assignments.”

The calligrapher believes artwork shouldn’t be restricted by group or faith.

“Mosques, temples, monasteries, I’ve embellished all of them. All these locations give out the identical message, of affection, peace and the oneness of mankind. Religion is a unifying power, not a divisive one,” he says.

“If we observe god’s teachings, we will all dwell harmoniously and the world would be the richer for it.”

Source: Al Jazeera