Saturday, October 2, 2010

City of artistic splendour

Lahore's artistic riches belie popular perceptions of the place. From miniature paintings of the Mughal era to present day cartoons, there is much that is waiting to be discovered.

In 982 CE an unknown writer described Lahore as ‘a town with numberous districts', in which there are ‘markets and idol-temples, pine trees, almond trees and coconut trees…. All the inhabitants are idolators and there are no Muslims there'. Raiders came down regularly from the North, but it was not till 1014 that the Ghaznavids built the first Muslim settlements. After 1187 the city was one of their two capitals, and became the entrepot through which the Central Asian rulers established themselves in India. Today it is one of the most vibrant cultural centres in the subcontinent.

Marg's new book is a more comprehensive survey than the sub-title suggests. It includes a chapter on contemporary political cartoons, which have been periodically suppressed under martial law but are still alive and flourishing. The cartoonist's art is the vital corrective that prevents a society from sinking into corruption and tyranny, as the writer points out.

Full report here Hindu

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