July / August  2006





August/September Contents 

 Sufis - wisdom against

 Sufi poet saints

 50 years of mountain

 Interviews with:
 Ajaz Anwar
Iqbal Hussain
Kamil Mumtaz

 Heritage cities:
 Taxila Dharmrajika
 Bhera - Part I
Bhera - Part II


Cotton - the fibre of

Cotton textiles of
 South Asia

 Handlooms & Dyes

 Hiran Minar


 Lahore Gymkhana

 B2B - Part I

B2B - Part II

Optical Networks I
Optical Networks II

Role of Internet in
 S Asian development

Technology and
 investment in US
 stock markets

Security & Trust in
 Internet banking

 Telecom & software
 - trends & future in
 South Asia

China & India - major
 players by 2025

Pakistan - IT Markets
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV








   about us              back-issues           contact us         search             data bank


  craft shop

print gallery

 Page  2  of  2


Interview with Dr.Ajaz Anwar 

–Associate Professor , National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan 


Salman S. Minhas.

First published in November 2003


Qila Gujjar Singh.jpg (105259 bytes)
Qila Gujjar Singh of Lahore - a painting by Ajaz Anwar


TSA : Could you also tell us when and how you started painting buildings of old Lahore ?

Dr.Ajaz Anwar: There was our teacher Mr. Aslam Minhas in Government College. For one he was related distantly to us. He had started the Fine Arts department. This was in the days of Dr. Nazir who was later the principal there. Government College is still the only college for men to have a Fine Arts department. The rest are all girls’ colleges.

He was, without being strict, a disciplinarian. This also is a quality of a teacher. We were only 3 students. He got us a key made so that we could work whenever there was a free period. We would go on Sundays. The guards [ Chowkidars] initially were alerted. Later they learnt that 3 students would be coming on Sundays. In a way that was our "Midway" house and our painting gear would also be left there. On Sundays, we would take our painting tools and go to the Ravi river. He [ Aslam Minhas] was there during college hours. He was very punctual, very regular. At 8:30 a.m. he would leave his bike under the stairs. We would dust it off with a cloth. He was a kind man. In the beginning, he took us to Urdu bazaar. There, we went up the steps of Sadaqat Stationary Mart as he knew those people. He got us three chairs and said these guys will be coming daily.

There was this magnificient view from the roof. He said "Everywhere you look there is a picture; you can reject it or you can choose to paint it . But try and make some composition out of it". His lectures too were not speeches but conversations. Years later I realised that a good lecture is one in which there is a dialogue - a two-way conversation. Our conversations ranged from the Indus Valley, a little on Gandhara, then Ajanata , etc . So with this dialogue, we learnt faster, and did not have to study much after that.

In the beginning we began painting with watercolours. You have to think right from the beginning. If something goes wrong, you cannot undo it. The white of the paper serves as the white colour.


TSA : Could you also tell us about the situation regarding old buildings in Rawalpindi and Peshawar, Karachi, and also the situation in Lahore with respect to the heritage of old architecture. What new projects are you working on?

Dr.Ajaz Anwar: In Lahore, there was a demonstration in 1996 by the NCA students against the demolition of the Tollington market which was joined spontaneously by the citizens of Lahore . As a result the demolition of Tollington market was halted. However the so-called food street renovation of Gowalmandi and Old Anarkali is basically not organic. It is in the hands of the land mafia and Multi-Nationals whose basic motive is the bottom line profits. The reconstruction of Tollington market is not being supervised by an architect or conservation specialist. It is in the hands of a government contractor and you know what that means.

I am working on the painting of an old building on Mcleod road/ Nicholson road. The story behind this building is a long one. I managed to get my students to take some pictures of it before it was demolished. For Lahore a 5-storey building is a skyscraper.

Could you tell us about the situation regarding the quality of current generation of NCA students over the last so many years since your student days. How do you see your kind of work developing in Pakistan?

Dr.Ajaz Anwar: First of all I teach only art history. I cannot speak about the level of the craft of painting. A good teacher teaches a student to cross the street on his own and not hold his hands every time. Every age has its golden art. Every person belongs to his own age. 


Kim's Gun or Zamzama

KimsGun.jpg (103580 bytes)
Title: Kim's Gun

Medium: Water Colour ( 28 x 38 inches)

Collection: Mr. Martin Hathaway

Zamzama meaning "Lion's Roar" was cast in wax-technique in bronze in Lahore in 1757 under the orders of Ahmad Shah Abdali by Nazir Shah. The people of Lahore were asked to give their kitchen utensils for the couldron. It has the date of manufacture, names of the monarch and the technician along with verses in Persian molded with floral patterns all over the barrel. This was the largest piece of arsenal at that time. Abdali took it to the third battle of Panipat. 

This gun changed hands and was last used in the siege of Multan by Ranjeet Singh in 1818 where it was "injured" and thus de-commissioned and brought back to Lahore. It was lying in the Lahore Fort when the British, realizing its historical importance, mounted it on the wooden wheels and placed it in front of Delhi Gate. It was removed to be placed in front of "Exhibition Hall" (Later Tollington Market). With completion of Jubilee Building of central museum of Lahore, it was moved a few yards up the "Exhibition Road".

The present pedestal inside a blue tiled water tank is the result of the "think tanks" who volunteer to stain and tarnish everything of beauty from the past. In the latest endeavour a civil servant of Pakistan unleashed electric motorized grinders on it that removed the noble patina on it and defaced the motifs and inscriptions on it. It came to be known as Kim's Gun after Kipling in whose childhood memoirs it frequently featured.

" ……Kim sat , in defiance of municipal orders , astride the gun Za-Zammah, on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher, the Wonder House, as the native call the Lahore Museum and from the Zam-Zammah also started my research of what remains of Kipling’s days inside the Museum itself and outside the old Lahore ………….." [ from the novel: Kim – by Rudyard Kipling ]





Copyright © 2000 - 2006 []. Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.