HYDERABAD: Calligraphy (Khushnaweez) has been a part of Hyderabad’s heritage for at least five centuries. Monuments built since the Qutb Shahi rule feature fine Islamic inscriptions. Handwritten copies of the Quran written in calligraphy style are on display at several museums in the city.
According to the historians, during the Nizam period, several calligraphers (khatibs) were appointed at the central printing press at Chanchalguda.
In the Old City of Hyderabad, Chatta Bazaar, the printing district of the city, several calligraphers even now continue to show their craft on wedding cards.
Calligraphy for some artist was passed on by their forefathers.
“There were very few institutions imparting calligraphy training. We learned from our ancestors at a very young age and are doing it,” said Mohammed Khaleel, a third generation calligrapher at Chatta Bazaar.
Invitation cards for weddings, christening ceremonies, birthdays, and visiting cards — all with Urdu calligraphy can be obtained at the decades old market.
Calligrapher Saleem said his father used to write for publishers of magazines and newspapers till the early 80s when block printing was in vogue. “Still there is demand for calligraphers in the city. Mostly traditional calligraphic handwriting is sought for invitation cards and christening ceremony cards,” he said.
Though there was large scale use of computers, stationeries in Chatta Bazaar still stock inks and wooden pens used for the traditional art, he added.
Chatta Bazaar was once the hub of khatibs. “Many dropped out owing to age. A handful of them are left now.
“The decline started in the late 90’s when computers made their advent in this printing hub of the city,” points out another calligrapher Khursheed.