We welcome our viewers on Punjab Darshan. Today we wish to present to you our warm friend and an Internationally renowned artist, Sohan Qadri. Sohan Qadri, a graduate from Punjab School of Arts, had been teaching the History of Art. Our topic today is the History of Art. Mr. Qadri, thank you for being on the show. Punjab predominantly had been a land of agriculture, and has had a vibrant culture. The first artifacts that were found there belonged to which era… and what kind of art was found? Punjab, in my opinion, not only in art, or literature alone but had been the center of the whole civilization. During the Indus Valley Civilization, Harrapan Culture, Mohen jo Daro, When we were very civilized… when we knew the architecture when we knew building houses, washrooms while others used to live on the trees. You may be aware that the first University was built in Texla, which is also Punjab. Now-a-days they popularly call Punjab an agricultural province, without a culture. Culture, in fact, started in Punjab. The artifacts and art objects found in Mohen jo Daro consists sculpture, art and craft, pottery of that time. Whereas the period I am talking about is 3500 BC. or 6000 years ago. Was it a period earlier to Greek and Egyptian civilizations. – These came much later. We had had relations with the Mesopotamian and Babylonian Cultures. We had trade ties with them and people used to come here for education. Chinese used to come to Texla to study. Arabs used to come to Texla to study. Punjab was the center of Arts and Craft, Culture, and Literature. We may ignore it now. You have to think hard to believe it. I belong to that Punjab which had roots of culture for the whole of Asia, including the minor Asia and far-East, and was known as Sindhu Valley Civilization. Historically, everyone knows, I am not talking anything new, The culture, art, and especially my subject of painting, the visual art it started from Sindhu Valley. The written history, excuse me, the script was developed much later. The earliest history that we get is from the wall paintings, from their toys and pottery How did those people live? The history includes their way of living, religion and their social structure. All the art objects that we found in Mohen jo Daro or in Harappa and that’s where the history of art began. Where did they find the painting samples but most of which were ruined. From Harappa and Mohen jo Daro. Tiny figures, which are present in the National Museum, Delhi and in other museums world over The Terra Cotta figures and they knew how to make bronze at that time. We excavated many bronze figures from Mohen jo Daro which had elaborated, lyrical, spiritual elements the period that we refer to as primitive but they were so advanced. Historically speaking we term its subsequent era as black age. But I don’t believe in black or yellow age. Our Punjab was white then and it is white now. Only the historians have coined such terms. This culture travelled to Gujarat and Indonesia. It means we had a rich culture. You may say so about the Punjab of Indus Valley. Every form of Art started from that Punjab, which I love. After the Indus Valley (era), which art forms came to India and especially to Punjab? After the Indus Valley, as I said, they call it black or yellow age but its a continuation. Because, once you develop wisdom, it stays there till a long time. Then came the Greeks. Then Alexander came. He too came to Punjab. He was very impressed with the education system, spirituality, yoga, arts and crafts of this place. Some artists and sculpturists were accompanying him. Historically, who won or who lost is a different story. But I would talk about my field. It was a beautiful meeting of cultures, from which evolved a new art form, and it doesn’t have a parallel in the world till now. The Budhist sculpture, this art form was later known as Gandhara art form. So it was that Greek… Yes, it was a union of the original art of Texla, Punjab and the Greek influence. Both of these got mixed to become the Gandhara School of art. Followers of Gandhara art know it. It is a very important step in the history of art in India. The era I am talking about is 300 BC or 2000 years ago to the time when Alexander came here. And it continued after that. Because geographically, Punjab is situated at such a place which is fertile. we have a very wide horizon I wish to ask, are the relics or samples of this art form from that era readily available? In abundance. Just ask about the Gandhara art in any of the world’s museums Gandhara means the art of Punjab which was a mixture of Greek and Punjab art. The themes were Buddhist, as Texla was a Buddhist University. The Chinese people who learnt Buddhism had done so in Punjab. Those sculptures are in their refined form. Let me tell you another thing about the history of art. Buddha was not given a human form until this time. All the Buddhists from south or central India in the Vindhyachal Pradesh they only sculpted trees or elephants. It was in Punjab that Lord Buddha was sculpted in a human form, 1200 years after the death of Buddha, and that came from Punjab. Was it the Mughal rule after that? Yes and followed by the Persians. So what progress did this art form make during this period? Under the Persian influence starting from the Ghaznis till Mughals whosoever invaded (India) they brought along their wisdom as well. Most of us believe they only came to rob us but they brought along artists, the poets
On the civilization in Punjab, it has a deeper influence of a long Persian rule. Paintings, which is my subject the Persian painting after arriving in Punjab and then in Delhi, it became an Indian miniature school. Everyone knows about the Indian Miniature School. While painting, when we create a miniature, we express so much in so little which is aphoritic. When the aphoritic poetry and painting of Persia and that of indigenous/local Punjab met a remarkable form of art emerged out of this fusion which is known all over the world and we call it the Mughal art. It is Persian and local Punjabi art. In earlier days, it was Punjab till Delhi, and Texla was spread till Peshawar on the other side, Mohen jo Daro is today’s Sindh. If you limit the boundaries of Punjab like its now, then it is left with agriculture alone But you see the larger picture of Punjab it is very rich in culture, literature and art, which is my subject.