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Updated: March 25, 2013 00:42 IST

There are still takers for the hand

J. S. Ifthekhar
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Legible and winsome handwriting that reflects your personality at a time when the mouse has become mightier than the pen, Katib (scribe), Mohammed Abdul Gaffar, a calligraphy and graphic skill trainer lives in the world of the handwritten word in Hyderabad. He teaches the art of the Kalam called calligraphy a dying skill in an e-enabled world, one that has kept him hooked to making words look beautiful in Urdu script years. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
The hindu Legible and winsome handwriting that reflects your personality at a time when the mouse has become mightier than the pen, Katib (scribe), Mohammed Abdul Gaffar, a calligraphy and graphic skill trainer lives in the world of the handwritten word in Hyderabad. He teaches the art of the Kalam called calligraphy a dying skill in an e-enabled world, one that has kept him hooked to making words look beautiful in Urdu script years. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

The calligraphy training centre at Idara-e-Adabiyat-e-Urdu in Panjagutta is a beehive of activity

Threat from computers notwithstanding, they are holding their own. Sure, you can typeface a graceful look for a wedding invite, but it is hard to lend that elegant touch which only a calligrapher can do. This traditional art form is alive and kicking in Hyderabad though there is not much of official patronage.

The calligraphy training centre at Idara-e-Adabiyat-e-Urdu in Panjagutta is a beehive of activity. Boys and girls can be seen bending over drawing sheets, creating eye-catching designs with reed pens. It is sheer pleasure watching Farhat working over an Urdu couplet, lending a touch of grace with deft strokes. It is much more than beautiful handwriting. The Quranic verses written by the students in Khate Thulth and graphic designs are a visual delight.

Mohammed Abdul Gaffar, master calligrapher, looks out for errors and guides the students whenever they falter. The two-year diploma course in Calligraphy and Graphic Design offered here under the sponsorship of the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is a big hit. But sadly, only 25 students can be accommodated. “If the intake capacity is increased more persons will stand to gain,” says Mr. Gaffar.

Despite sincere efforts calligraphy has difficulty finding space in academic curriculum. In fact, the government had indicated its mind to introduce Urdu calligraphy in the curriculum from classes VIII to X. The government also issued GO 313 in 1990 in this regard, but for reasons unknown it is on the back burner. “Implementation of the GO will lead to appointment of qualified calligraphy instructors in government and aided high schools in the State,” says Mr. Gaffar.

Several non-Urdu speakers are also taking active interest in calligraphy. Shweta, a 7 class student, and her brother, Jayanth, are learning calligraphy to improve their English handwriting. In the process both of them have learnt to read and write Urdu.

Not just Urdu but English, Arabic and Persian calligraphy is also taught here. Round-hand script, draughtsman letter, swing letter, Chancery cursive, Gothic letter and Old English are taught. Besides Khate Thulth, Khate Naskh, Khate, Nastaliq, Khate Diwani, Khate Riqa, Khate Shikasta , Diwani Jali and Kufi scripts are imparted.

They may look just dots, lines and cursive. But they are aesthetic, expressive and skilful.

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