July / August  2006




August/September Contents 

 Sufis - wisdom against

 Sufi poet saints

 50 years of mountain

 Interviews with:
 Ajaz Anwar
Iqbal Hussain
Kamil Mumtaz

 Heritage cities:
 Taxila Dharmrajika
 Bhera - Part I
Bhera - Part II


Cotton - the fibre of

Cotton textiles of
 South Asia

 Handlooms & Dyes

 Hiran Minar


 Lahore Gymkhana

 B2B - Part I

B2B - Part II

Optical Networks I
Optical Networks II

Role of Internet in
 S Asian development

Technology and
 investment in US
 stock markets

Security & Trust in
 Internet banking

 Telecom & software
 - trends & future in
 South Asia

China & India - major
 players by 2025

Pakistan - IT Markets
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV









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 Baithak Katibaan-Collection Safi Qureshi - Cal.jpg (81077 bytes)

 Interview with Dr.Ajaz Anwar 

–Associate Professor , National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan 


Salman S. Minhas.



This interview took place on Sunday October 26, 2003  hours in the Exhibition Hall outside Dr Ajaz Anwar’s office in the National College of Arts building in Lahore, Pakistan.. Dr. Anwar’s exhibition of his forty years of Lahore old Buildings had taken place in the two days prior to this interview. The exhibition hall itself is an architectural masterpiece. Built in 1890 as part of the Queen Victoria Jubilee celebrations, the Mayo School of Art as it was then known, The Lahore Museum was also built as part of this complex. In those days there was no electricity, its roof and windows are designed to maximise the entry of sunlight. The window- sills are slanted downwards to allow maximum light from the north. There are colourful flying kites, which give the room a joyous and light ambience. On the day of the exhibition visitors thronged to see the old Lahore paintings – a lot of which were originals with whom the owners had graciously parted with. Some owners preferred to imprison their paintings in the perimeters of their houses. Signed copies of reprints were also available. Also launched were two of his books:

Forty years of Painting "Reminiscences of Old Lahore": 


"Nahin Reesan Sheher Lahore Diyan":

[The City of Lahore has no Parallels ]

–the title is taken from a old traditional saying about Lahore -- a collection of essays in Punjabi arising out of the Lahore radio station program called "Rawai Rang [Colours of Tradition]- talks / interviews with Mrs Fakhr Zaman [ Chairwoman –World Punjabi Conference] started in March 1996 at 8:30 a.m. and continued for 7 years afterwards, culminating in this book of essays / talks.

Dr. Anwar is the recipient of the President’s "Pride of Performance in Painting" in1997. He has had solo painting exhibitions in Ankara, Istanbul, Rome, Kampala, Chandigarh, Delhi and London. He is an Associate Professor & Director Art Gallery, National College of Arts [pre-1947 known as the "Mayo School of Arts"], Lahore, Pakistan. In 1978, he completed his Doctorate from Istanbul with a Thesis/Dissertation topic of "Architectural Dimensions in Miniature Paintings of Murat III Period"-- [1574-1595]. He also spent time in Rome in 1978 working on "the Conservation of Cultural Property", at the International Center for Conservation-ICCROM- UNESCO, Rome, under Sir Bernard Feilden, the British conservation master; in Rome he also painted Rome’s architecture in his spare time. He was born in Ludhiana now in India. His father is Mr. Anwar the famous cartoonist of "Nanna" in Pakistan Times, which is perhaps somewhat in the same spirit as the cartoons by Laxman in Times of India. His father was taught by Baba Sanyal, who is documented in detail in the back issues of Dr Ajaz Anwar is a founding member and current Secretary of the Lahore Conservation Society.

The- South- Asian [TSA] interviewer is Salman Minhas –CEO "Information Engineers" - a Telecomm & Transactions Technology professional with 20 + years experience with Citibank, Indo-Suez Bank and Sprint in the Middle East, UK & USA

Key Extracts from the interview are given below:


TSA : Please tell us about your favourite exhibitions that you have done in the past.

Dr. Ajaz Anwar: In 1997 I had an exhibition of my paintings of old Lahore in Delhi. The group Leader was Paramjit Singh and in that group was the famous Indian artist Satish Gujral whose brother Inderjeet Gujral, was the Prime Minister in India at the time. The exhibition was inaugurated by B.C. Sanyal who was in the pre-1947 days the Vice-Principal of the Mayo School of Art, which later was named National College of Arts. I had met him in 1986 when he had come here to Lahore. He had taught my father. At that time, I had some doubts if he would remember my father, so I scribbled on a piece of paper " Do you remember Anwar Ali Cartoonist?" He was already old at that time. He reacted immediately. He said " Oh yes that lad from Ludhiana" …….….and he said "I would like to see him". My father then went to see him. Sanyal was sitting in the Principal’s office, and as we walked in, my father said " Do you remember me ?" and Sanyal said …. " Oh Anwar , I do remember you , you stood guard over me that day" . What happened was that he was outside Pakistan at the time of August 14 1947. He was in Kashmir and his entire belongings, including his studio, were in Lahore. When he came back, my father took 2-3 staff and went to his Regal Chowk Studios with him. There Sanyal sorted out his stuff . He took some stuff with him and left some of his work to my father to be kept in trust. These were later transferred to the Lahore Museum.

Anyway, I got Sanyal’s phone number and called him up in Delhi in 1997. He said he remembered me well, and I asked him if he would be able to inaugurate my exhibition. He said he had not been well, but he said " for you, I will come. In India, instead of cutting ribbons, they light a "Diya" [ oil—lamp ]. For me that exhibition was a very unique experience. Most visitors were Octogenarians. Old Lahorites . They were not regular exhibition goers. They were not necessarily art lovers. They came for the sake of Lahore. I have the comments book at home and they wrote such remarks in Urdu….." wo din jab yaad atey hain to kaleja muskarata hai …….." [ when I remember those days my heart breaks into smiles] . Some would come everyday and one old man would sit beside me all day. I had brought the flying kites to decorate as part of my signature of old Lahore’s old paintings. I do not know who said that Basant is a festival of Hindus. It is a festival of Lahore. In India they have kites also but none are so colourful and expensive as the kites of Lahore. For Delhi this was something new. Already there were so many requests. Every person who wanted a kite, had his name put on the kite. We stayed at the India International Center where they put us up for seven days with wonderful hospitality and warmth. We made some money selling prints. So we thought, let us spend another 10 days because so many people had requested us for lectures. I gave two seminars at the Jamia Millia Islamia and was surprised at the campus, which was very spacious. There was a lot of interaction and Satish Gujraal was there too.

TSA : Please tell us how you got started on this road / focus of painting Lahore’s old buildings.

Dr. Ajaz Anwar: For one thing I was, from the early days, a free–spirit [walker / walkabout -- "awara gard" ] . Much earlier, I learnt how to ride a bicycle and fairly early-on I learnt that the Omnibus Double-Decker [Lahore’s city buses in 1960’s; these have recently been rejuvenated, but in a red colour instead of the old blue & cream] was a very good form of transport. I knew each and every bus route number. I was about 7 years old. I found out that a 2-anna ticket for a child was for the entire route, whether one got off halfway or not. The 1-anna route was a somewhat shorter distance. So I for one, sat on the buses; it was quite pleasant for me, going into Shalmi [ the Shah Alam Gate of Old Lahore is called Shalmi in the local idiom/vernacular], then back from there to ShahDara [ the outer most suburb of old Lahore near the banks of the Ravi river ], then making ShahDara a route ……. . and I was some 9 or 10 years old when I learnt to ride a 2 wheel bicycle . In those days one could rent a bike for 2-annas. The only fear I had was that my uncle should not spot me, or that my father should not see me. One day my father spotted me near Mcleod Road. I had gone to get my fountain pen which I had given for repair; to get that I was going to Anarkali [the famous bazaar named after the Anarkali – or the Pomegranate bud –the name of a dancing girl with whom the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s son Salim fell in love with in the 16 th century – the theme of many a poet and Bombay Film /movies/ songs- she was rumoured to be buried alive in a wall, though her tomb is inside the Lahore secretariat buildings].

My Father said "lets go back, where are you going?". I said I just have to get my pen back from repairs, just a little further. He accompanied me on my bicycle. A little further on, he said," Where? I said just a little further. After a while again, he said where is it? I said just a little further. Then, going still further, we reached the spot in Anarkali , where there were a lot of stationery stores. The pen repair job cost 6 paisas and I looked up to my father and said I don’t have 6 paisas. He paid. Once home, he did not scold me. He said, go and return the bicycle.

To not object was a sort of license. After that, I started renting a bike regularly, visiting every place I wanted to see. In fact I think I was responsible for a few near misses on the road as I was still not fully aware of the dangers & rules of traffic.

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