Calligraphy has shaped my aesthetic strengths. Islamic calligraphy, to me, is the medium to understanding the meaning of the words. It seems that my eyes tend to recognise the invisible inner beauty of the Arabic script. The shapes of letters, colours, proportions and the inking of the letters have a unique divination of their own. Miniature paintings play the same notes of a running stream of ink like water of life.
The miniature paintings in the collection are not confined to Muslim fervour and luxuriance. The tints of the paper and ink, depictions of love and romance in the paintings offer a universal temperament in the feel of colours and sense of lines.
How some of the paintings and their folios were collected over the years, is itself a recollection of stories which take me back to a curio footpath in Ladakh, to the glass front of a barbers shop in Tehran, to a roadside cafe in Gwalior, to a book shop turned into a cafe in Rue Monge [around the Sorbonne] in Paris and a stair case of a monk’s parlour on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Most of them were bought in curio shops in London, New York and Geneva when many princely collections from India found their way to private dealers.