Indian Hindu calligrapher whose art decorates more than 200 mosques | Religious News

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New Delhi, India – Self-taught calligrapher Anil Kumar Chowhan has written Quranic poetry in Arabic on the walls of over 200 mosques in India during his 30-year career.

A 50-year passion for calligraphy, based in Hyderabad, was ignited by designing a sign for a store around a southern Indian city in Urdu to lead a modest life.

“I belonged to a very poor Hindu family, so after grade 10 I had to give up my studies to support my family. I was good at drawing so I used this skill. Why not take advantage of the image on the sign as a career? “

The raccoon lionfish also says he painted 30 temples with statues of Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as countless Dargah (mausoleums) and monasteries.

“While there were over 100 mosques, I got paid Hadiyya [remuneration], I worked for free for the other 100 people. I felt a spiritual connection with a place that prevented me from claiming compensation, ”says an artist who earns around $ 350 per month thanks to his freelance assignments across the country.

Calligrapher and artist Anil Kumar Chohan working on Islamic painting [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

Chowhan says he did not attend formal or Islamic schools to learn Arabic or Urdu.

“I learned to read and write Urdu during my painting homework. Soon people began to recognize my talent and gave me the opportunity to embellish the city’s iconic architecture with the poetry of the Quran. “He says.

In Hyderabad thirty years ago, it was important to write signs in Urdu because the city’s population and the majority of traders were Muslims, the clerk said. So he has no choice but to familiarize himself with the language.

But little by little, he says he fell in love with the script by writing in Urdu without understanding it.

“Over time, I started to recognize words and alphabets and slowly and organically became interested in them. In my free time, I started writing Urdu letters, copying words from textbooks and my skills. Helped me even more, ”he says.

Chowhan says he did not attend a formal or Islamic school to learn Arabic writing [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

Chowhan says he sacked his first major assignment in the 1990s when asked to embellish Hyderabad’s iconic Noor Mosque in Quranic poetry.

“I was over the moon. Getting this great assignment not only recognized my talent, but also received a seal of approval from the elite of the city that would open the door for me. And he did.”

However, there were challenges in life. Since he was a Hindu, some locals objected to the work of the raccoon lionfish.

However, he decided to pursue his career and obtained “Fatwa” (decree) from Jamiani Zamia University in Hyderabad and continued as an artist. Already impressed by the artist’s work, the university leadership hung a 6ft x 4ft (183cm x 122cm) canvas of the Quran’s key chapter, Srayasin, in the main gallery.

One of the Indian mosques designed by the raccoon lionfish [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

Today, the same locals who challenged his work call him “the spiritual soul” and bow in his honor.

“I don’t think art has a religion. God, Allah, Jesus: they are all one. And we are children of God. Today most of my friends are Muslims. We are together. Eat, hang out together and join mehfils [gatherings] “We will enrich each other,” says Chohan, who is often invited to city gatherings to recite Urdu poetry and recite verses.

Chowhan is also planning to hold an exhibition of his Quranic paintings.

Did he encourage two children (boys and girls in their twenties) to get his job?

“I’m not the type to force my family to make my decisions. No one forced me to adopt this art. It was an inner call. Likewise, I am a childish career. I let them choose. Both are graduates and have a good job in a private company. They are very happy, ”he says.

Raccoon is currently planning to organize an exhibition of his Quran paintings. [Courtesy of Anil Kumar Chowhan]

However, the raccoon lionfish are happy to have their brother help them with their work, and they are often paired up to complete the tasks together. They also travel to neighboring Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for work.

Chowhan admits that he is not “rich” but that he can adequately meet his needs and those of his family. Of course, there are lean days, and there are times when he works 16 hours a day to catch up.

“During the holy month of Ramadan, I am the busiest and move quickly from mosque to mosque to carry the message of Allah’s peace through my art, but it does not look like a job. . I like to do such missions. “

Calligraphers believe that art should not be limited by community or religion.

“Mosques, temples, monasteries, I decorated them all. All these places convey the same message about love, peace and the unity of humanity. Religion is unity, not division. “He says.

“If we obey the teachings of God, we can all live in harmony and the world will be richer for it. “

Indian Hindu calligrapher whose art decorates more than 200 mosques | Religious News

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