August 16, 2014 08:16 IST
RANA SIDDIQUI ZAMAN
An exhibition of Buddhist Bhoti and Islamic Calligraphy is being organised by the International Buddhist Confederation – IBC – in collaboration with the India International Centre in a bid to promote inter-faith understanding as its core agenda. They are also making an attempt to highlight the universal nature of basic goodness of all religions, interdependence and responsibilities. The ongoing show at IIC Annexe concludes on August 18. According to Lama Lobzang, the Secretary General of the IBC, the coming together of Buddhist and Islamic calligraphy epitomises true repository of the ancient wisdom and message of the divine for the benefit of the mankind and all sentient beings. So, he said, the exhibition is a step towards initiating an understanding through a common artistic expression.
The show, ‘Divinity in Syllables’, has brought together two foremost calligraphers Jamyang Dorjee from Sikkim and Anis Siddiqui who have displayed their works. Anis Siddiqui represented some verses from the Quran on paper in artistic styles and multi-titled it “The Straight Way”. He also made strokes in colour for laymen to understand them.
Jamyang, a former Joint Secretary in the Government of Sikkim, who took voluntary retirement and took the art form to its zenith, has transformed simple, straight Buddhists chants and prayers into works of calligraphic art in which the figure of Buddha forms their core part. “I am tracing the development of Buddhism through calligraphy,” said Jamyang.
He is better known for producing the longest calligraphy scroll in 2012 measuring 163 m, which was written in Lapanese sumi ink on handmade Tibetan lokta paper. The scroll had 65,000 Tibetan characters written in different calligraphic styles.
On asking why an interfaith understanding programme had only two art forms, Lama Lobzang said: “This is just the beginning. It is also to represent that Buddhism and Islam have to co-exist together just like in calligraphic art forms; which actually evolved as artistic forms of reverence.”
“Islam and Buddhism have and will always co-existed across the world … though tensions of social conflict in most Islamic countries are heard so regularly, but Islam is very very important; Muslims and Buddhists have co-existed in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ladakh and in Central Asia.”
The show seemed just a peripheral exercise fencing a more intense agenda today.
The Secretary General feebly admitted: “Actually, the show was not a calculated move. We believe that India is a pilgrimage for Buddhism, as Buddha’s home was Bodh Gaya. Therefore, I think that India should lead Buddhist culture. It should provide basic infrastructure for this pilgrimage. We are not asking for opening borders for that.”