DIFFERENT forms of art have been around since the beginning of human civilisation … when people came out of caves and started living in villages.
The history and evolution of art cannot be summed up in a few words. To Russian novelist [Leo] Tolstoy, the main art forms have been dance, painting, literature, music and sculpture. Civilisations devoid of art could not make any appreciable mention in history … compare the Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian civilisations with the era of Genghis Khan. …
The chosen few are entrusted with the task to develop and promote art and culture in a society and the commoners are the beneficiaries. For [the people of] Greece, it was Homer, for Rome Virgil and for Punjab the Sufi poets. It is beyond any doubt that Punjab is [known by] Waris Shah and Waris Shah is [known by] Punjab. … Other sons of the soil like Bulleh Shah, Sultan Bahu, Baba Fareed, Guru Nanak and Mian Mohammad Bakhsh took art and culture to new heights. Their works — Mirza Sahiban, Sassi Pannu, Yousaf Zulekha and Sohni Mahiwal — are second to none. We also had Amrita Pritam, Dr Manmohan Singh, Ahmad Rahi and Ustad Daman. Can one ignore Rajinder Singh Bedi, Krishan Chander, Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi, Sa’adat Hasan Manto, A. Hameed and Mansha Yaad besides Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Hafeez Jullundhri, Noon Meem Rashid, Munir Niazi, Zafar Iqbal, Shahzad Ahmad … all hailing from Punjab and working for the promotion of art and culture as a whole in the region? — (Feb 6)
Selected and translated by Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui.