‘Engraving taken up only on the dome’

The Sajjada Nasheen of the Rouza Munavare, Khurd Syed Shaha Hassan Shabbir Mohammad ul-Hussaini, has clarified that the ancient paintings inside the tomb of the Sufi saint Syed Shaha Qhabululla Hussaini are not being replaced with glasswork.

Reacting to a report in these columns on Tuesday, Mr. Hussaini told presspersons here on Wednesday that the installation of the glasswork had not affected the intricate paintings inside the tomb, which were done over 600 years ago by Iranian artists.

He said the fear expressed by artists such as Rehman Patel that the priceless paintings done using natural dyes were being replaced with cheap glass work was far from the truth.

“We have taken up the engraving of the glasswork on the dome of the tomb which does not contain any paintings. It was vacant and black in colour….we have taken up this work to give a beautiful look to the dome.”

However, he admitted that the authorities had also taken up the repainting of the old art work done with natural dyes in a few portions of the dome to “bring back its old glory”. The Koranic verses, which were not visible owing to the vanishing colours of the old paintings, were now visible.

However, several artists who were present in the dargah complex of the 14th Century Sufi saint Khwaja Bandanawaz, disputed this claim and said glasswork had been taken up inside the tomb.

They also took exception to the re-painting of the old paintings and said this would take away their natural beauty.

Meanwhile, the dargah authorities said that they did not feel it necessary to take permission either from the Archaeological Survey of India or the Archaeology Department to take up restoration work.

The engraving of the glasswork was on the painted and calligraphic area and it was being done in the upper half of the tomb. “Upper area does not contain any painting presently,” they said.

Quoting from a book, Tareeq-e Habeebi, written in 1283 Hijra, they said the paintings in the upper half of the tomb was damaged in lightning and the upper portion had turned black due to intense heat and smoke.

The Sajjada claimed that the tomb was not built by Feroz Shah Bahmani or his brother, Ahmed Shah Bahmani, and it was constructed by Sheikh Mehmood Saudagar, the father-in-law of the Qhabululla Hussaini.

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