LAHORE - Calligraphy is different from other genres of art. In it you do not draw inspiration from some person or nature. Here you depend on the vision that is in your mind. You create not to please any human being but to go beyond towards light.

Legendary calligrapher Khursheed Alam Gohar Qalam stated this in an interview with The Nation. He said calligraphy is not merely associated with the Islamic civilisation but the role, scope and contribution right from the advent of Islam to the present era Muslim calligrapher could not set aside. Even, Jews and Christen used the scripts in writing their sacred revelations. 

Long before Muslims there was Egyptian Samaritans were used to write the calligraphy on slabs of stones and artworks were still a glimpse to a contribution of Samaritans. All the major contribution of calligraphy of Samaritans was compiled by the Sir Henry Lawrence. 

He said coming to Sub-continent, Mughals strengthen the field of calligraphy with inventing so many ideas to and displayed it to a few mentioned include Taj Mahal, Mosque Wazir Khan. “Lahore then and now remained the epicenter of the calligraphy field to and cities like Lukhnow and Agra learn writing techniques from the culturally rich city Lahore,” Khrsheed Alam said. 

“Holy book of Muslim Quran was written in Kat-e-Hariri for the first time. Major portion of the Prophet Muhammad (Saw) letter were written in Kat-e-Hariri. First revelation of Quran ‘Read in the name of Allah Almighty’ was written in Kat-e-Hariri too,” Gohar Qalam said.

Khursheed Alam aka Gohar Qalam hails from Khushab district was a student of Ustad Ismail Dehleviand he also studied under Hafiz Yousuf Sadidi who was one of the great masters of calligraphy of the Indian subcontinent.

Iran and Turkey was also contributed a lot in spearheading calligraphy, Mir Ali Tabraizi with Khat-e-Nastaliq contributed in the betterment of civilization and advancement of calligraphy, he said. 

It is unfortunate that British Empire due to her vested interests destroyed the effort of the Mughals rulers who made the institutions of learning in Sub-continent. 

It is pertinent to mention that Gohar Qalam was bestowed on him by the late Nafees Qalam, another master of calligraphy and by Professor Ghulam Nizamuddin of the University of Punjab.

Branches of date palm, stones slabs, leather were the few initial objects on which script with calligraphy were written. The works were either written on a tree bark known as Bhuj Putter. 

Gohar Qalam said tracing the roots of the calligraphy, one could find the dot back to the Hazrat Idris(AS).

Khurshed said it was not a daunting task for government who spends hundreds of thousands of fund and allocates hefty money for the other projects; it should also consider the plight of this glorious aspect of Pakistani art. Just giving diplomas in calligraphy will not make this field prosperous; only government’s initiative to build up a proper system can change the current condition of the calligraphy which is standing at a cross roads of history.     

Faisal Mosque in Islamabad had the copy of Quran with written with by hand of Khursheed Alam and it includes 406 styles of calligraphy.

The Shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh also witnessed the calligraphy of Ustad Khursheed Alam Gohar Qalam. He was a recipient of Pride of Performance Award in 1992.

Other examples are Ghubari Naskh and a rare style of calligraphy known as Mufajjar.

Answering a query, Gohar Qalam said that he has been teaching for past 16 years as a professor of calligraphy at the National College of Arts and on calligraphy at least 16 books have been published so far. “Is this not a worth mentioning field of arts to be perused by number of students, so they could shine the country’s name in the world,” he said.