In Aishmuqam, students flock to this retired teacher to learn calligraphy skills
Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Mir, a retired government worker in his seventies, is not someone who is going to sit around and spend his post-retirement days within the four walls of his home. . Hailing from the beautiful city of Aishmuqam, famous for the shrine of the Sufi saint, Sultan Zain Ud DinWali (AR), Mir is an expert in the art of Urdu, Arabic, Persian and English calligraphy, a skill he wishes to pass on to a new generation, this too for free.
In addition to occasionally teaching calligraphy for free at nearby schools, Mir has rented a shop in the Uranhall area of the town of Anantnag, about 30 kilometers from his home, where he teaches the art of calligraphy for free. calligraphy to all age groups. The center is frequented by dozens of school children who converge and can be seen around Mir to learn calligraphy.
“I worked for decades in the education department as a lecturer at BEd College Srinagar and the District Institute of Education and Training where I taught Arabic, Persian and cashmere.
“During my tenure, I received training from ITI in art, painting and calligraphy, as I was sent for training through my department. I learned how to make portraits, how to create plaster of Paris models and statues as well as oil painting and other art forms. I was inclined towards this art of calligraphy since my childhood because my father was an expert calligrapher, something he did only out of love for this art as a hobby,” says Mir.
The materials used, be it pens or paper, Mir spends all the money out of his pocket. Apart from its permanent teaching center at Anantnag, Mir goes as far as Srinagar, Budgam and Baramulla to teach calligraphy in schools, colleges and localities.
“I usually go to Srinagar on vacation and gather calligraphy lovers in places like Hazratbal Dargah, public parks or lawns of locals in Nowhatta, Safa Kadal etc. My intention is to keep our young people engaged in something productive and that is why I provide teaching materials to them for free and I also do not charge to teach them this skill. »
“At Uranhall, where I teach in a rented shop, I pay the rent out of my own earnings and every day dozens of new faces are added to learn the art of calligraphy.”
He stated that his only motive and goal was to make this art flourish. “I’m doing everything in my power to keep it alive because computer generated graphics almost killed this art. However, there are still people who appreciate handmade art, it surely has a different feel. With the advent of electronic gadgets, writing on paper has become a thing of the past and as a result we have students who have very poor writing or handwriting skills,” he said.
He said that in addition to teaching sketch making, his desire is to train and improve students’ handwriting. “In addition to teaching students the basics of calligraphy and writing Quranic verses, I teach my students how to make posters by writing quotes from famous writers, poets and scholars, which helps them remember these quotes and can make them good people,” Mir adds.
Mir, being financially well off, made it a point to travel every day, despite his advanced age.
“Mir Sahab is an expert calligrapher in the district and despite his frailty, he usually travels hundreds of kilometers every day to impart this skill. He might have preferred to stay home after his retirement, but instead he is adding more and more artists into the art of calligraphy.
“It is very rare to find teachers like Mir Sahab because he is the one who is not looking for money. Some parents offer him money as a fee, but he never accepts, as this form of art is so sacred to him”, explains a local artist, Zuhaib Wahid.