J&K: Kashmiri teacher starts calligraphy institute to revive art

A young teacher in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Malik Mukhtar, is breathing new life into the centuries-old art of calligraphy and encouraging creativity.
Hailing from Pattan town of J&K’s Baramulla district, the 28-year-old is a calligraphy teacher, who is now running his own training institute. He says that he wants to popularize the art of calligraphy amongst the school students in the valley.
“I thought I should familiarise children with a different writing style. I trained them in writing in different calligraphic styles so that they could develop an interest in it. I started teaching calligraphy in 2009 and since then I have been teaching students from college and university with discretion,” he said.
Students say it has been a unique experience to learn calligraphy at Mukhtar’s institute.
“I have been coming here to learn calligraphy for the past 15 days. I have learned so many things here; my handwriting is improving day by day,” said a student.
Malik has never shied away from pushing his artistic boundaries and performing more challenging tasks like practising calligraphy on paper mache, which doesn’t even have a regular surface or curvature.
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful handwriting. It implies a sure knowledge of the correct form of letters–that is, the conventional signs by which language can be communicated–and the skill to make them with such ordering of the various parts and harmony of proportions that the experienced, knowledgeable eye will recognise such composition as a work of art.
In the Middle East and East Asia, calligraphy by long and exacting tradition is considered a major art, equal to sculpture or painting.