SIALKOT-Sialkot-based calligrapher Bashir Kanwar (76), an unsung hero, died after protracted illness at a local private hospital here on Tuesday.

Sialkot has lost the great artist who had been an icon of painting and calligraphy. He made life time struggle for the promotion of art and establishment of an art academy in Sialkot but always faced the promises by the government. Finally, he passed away with his dreams.

He was laid to rest in his native graveyard with his dreams. A large number of people from all walks of life today attended his funeral.

He lived a very miserable life due to lack of the patronage by the government for promoting the art. Despite spending almost the whole of his life in the art, Bashir Kanwar , remained unable to attract the government officials for getting an award in recognition of his life-long and matchless meritorious services.

He would reside in a rented house in Sialkot city’s congested Talwara Mughalaan locality as he has to do a lot other work to make his both ends meet. In his life’s last interview, Bashir Kanwar had said, “I have spent almost whole of life in the promotion of the arts in the Sialkot region without any support by the government and made thousands of paintings, which got many praises from the art-lovers.” Despite the repeated requests made by him for the government’s financial support, the government had not yet paid any attention towards his requests, he had said.

“I have thousands of paintings but I have no space and place to display them,” he had stating, “Now, I have been running my one-room small art academy namely “Bashir Kanwar Arts Academy” at Sialkot to promote the arts.”

He wrote “Kalma-e-Tayyuba” on the seed of rice and made paintings of Khana-e-Kaaba and Masjid-e-Nabvi (PBHU) on the seeds of Daal which gained global praises.

His forefathers had migrated to Sialkot from India. Born in 1942, Bashir Kanwar had also made the masthead of most newspapers and magazines in Pakistan and India. He prepared logos of more than 80 percent factories in Sialkot.

Meanwhile, social, educational, literary and political circles have expressed grave concern over the sad demise of Bashir Kanwar.

They urged the government to announce “Pride of Performance Award” for Bashir Kanwar and establish an academy to be named after Bashir Kanwar at Sialkot for the promotion of the art.

They said that though he had received several appreciation certificates from the governments but he still remains an unsung hero. They added that he deserved “Pride of Performance” award.