G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The House of Bijapur (Vesh)

Orhan Pamuk:


"...Thus, these legendary illustrators of Kazvin and Herat, all these elderly masters, along with their apprentices, these artisans who made masterpieces in Shah Tahmasp’s workshops, painters and colorists whose brushes made horses gallop at full speed and whose butterflies fluttered off the page, all of these master binders and calligraphers, every last one was left without work, penniless and destitute, homeless and bereft. Some migrated to the North among the Uzbeks, some West to India..."

('My Name is Red', 1998)

William Dalrymple, The Times of India, May 17 2015:

"As the works in the Met show demonstrate, while Ahmadnagar and Golconda both produced extraordinary artwork, it is Bijapur that is rightly admired as the most refined and innovative of the Deccani sultanates. The archetypal Bijapur ruler was Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1556-1627) of Bijapur, an erudite scholar, lute player, poet, singer, calligrapher, chess master and an aesthete. Under Ibrahim Bijapur underwent a remarkable renaissance. Though his first love was perhaps music (and his most popular composition a book of Urdu songs) Ibrahim oversaw the creation of a remarkable literary revival and attracted to his court the greatest poets and writers of his day, including Zuhuri, the Persian poet laureate. "
 
In Miraj, where I lived for first 21 years of life, the most important part of our address was "Bijapur Vesh".  

The distance between Miraj and Bijapur is 121 km and yet it exerted such deep influence on our life. That was because Miraj once was an important town of Adil Shahi for a long time. The capital of Adil Shahi was the town of Bijapur. Therefore, a border of the town  from where the road to the capital city began was named after it. Hence 'Vijapur/ Bijapur Vesh' (विजापूर वेस) and our house of Bijapur Vesh!


Artists:   Kamal Muhammad and Chand Muhammad

courtesy: Wikipedia and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

I came across this intriguing, beautiful painting in 'The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 100 Great Works 1100-1900', 2014  by B N Goswamy. Four pages of the book are devoted to it. 

The painting is showing us successive Sultans of Bijapur.  The figure in pink- according to one theory- is that of Shah Ismail, the Safavid ruler of Persia. The figure on the throne is of Sultan Yusuf, the founder of the Adil Shahi dynasty.

The painting apparently was made for boyish looking Sikandar Adil Shah, the sitting figure on the extreme  right, who was placed on the throne in 1672 at the age of four and whose reign was marked by chronic civil war. The picture is making a statement that the young man belongs there in the company of his predecessors and should be accepted as such.

The painting becomes poignant because just six years after its completion, the Bijapur Sultanate came to an end at the hands of Mughals in September 1686.  Sikandar- who died in Mughal captivity- turned out to be the last Adil-Shah. Neither was there any need to prove anything to anyone nor the painting would ever need a revision!

Who were Kamal and Chand Muhammad, the artists? Did they come from Persia? Were they trained there? Apparently not much is known about them as per the book.

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