calligraphist

MohammedCalligraphist

If he likes it, he may
call me to heaven

With the introduction of technology and the shift to digital mediums, the art of writing by hand has gradually waned. Today, only a few artisans in the capital remain skilled in calligraphy, which was once used by kings and scholars as a traditional writing technique.

In the bylanes of East Delhi, there lives a talented calligraphy artist, Mohammad Zubair, who has been practising this skill for over 20 years. His passion for the written word, and especially the technique of calligraphy, has unknowingly made him a polyglot. Mohammad Zubair has mastered this skill in five different languages—English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Arabic.

His fascination with the art form began in childhood when he started making handmade greeting cards for his near and dear ones. “I feel proud of the fact that I learnt calligraphy in my life. If I write some quotes from holy books in calligraphy, and if God looks at my calligraphy work, he may like it. If he appreciates it, he may call me to heaven!”

Over the years, he has been experimenting with the skill and has shifted from the customary practice of forming letters on paper to calligraphy on wall clocks, nameplates, pens, wedding cards and myriad objects. Besides exploring different surfaces, he also likes to blend various colours in his work. His collection has been shown in exhibitions and is sold in local shops as well. Mohammad Zubair recently took an order to write in calligraphy on 100 wedding cards for a Delhi-based client. This particular order held a special significance for him, as he realised that modern-day clients are now willing to explore traditional mediums again.

Mohammad Zubair considers calligraphy to be therapeutic—a calming force in times of chaos and trouble. Keen on keeping this writing practice alive so it may offer solace to others as well, he wants it included in the education curriculum. He has also been attempting to impart the skill to the younger generation by taking classes. By an odd twist of fate, Mohammad Zubair has been leveraging social media in order to reach out to a wider audience—the very technology that led to the art form’s decline in the first place!

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