USA

Meet the woman fighting to keep India's calligraphy culture alive

Delhi (CNN) — India has 22 official languages. But the real beauty isn't just in hearing them spoken -- it's in seeing them rendered in script.

Scribes sat on the steps of the Jama Mosque putting pen to paper. They chatted, they sipped tea and, on some days, visitors came to watch them work.

The minarets of the decorative mosque still tower over the market, but now only a handful of artists remain.

One of them, renowned calligrapher and New Delhi native Qamar Dagar, is fighting to keep the tradition alive in an increasingly digital era.

"India was a hub of Perso-Arabic, Sanskrit, Pali and many ancient calligraphy in different scripts once upon a time, " she says.

Tucked away in Old Delhi, the bookshops of Urdu Bazaar display some of the finest examples of calligraphy, according to Dagar. Many sell religious texts, which are often ornately handwritten to signify the author's dedication to learning.

It's not a coincidence that faith and handwriting are so closely linked.

Qamar's calligraphy India

Qamar Dagar is fighting to preserve the vanishing art of calligraphy in India.

CNN

"Calligraphy is a spiritual practice," Dagar explains, "because it allows one to understand oneself through this medium, and to help learn how to discipline yourself."

It is also a form of self-expression.

Dagar uses an abstract style — called pictorial calligraphy — that combines lettering and imagery to reveal her personal understanding of the words depicted.

"It's really a sharing of... my life in a way, of how I look at things, of my emotions. Because art is all about emotions," she says.

But simply promoting her own work isn't enough.

Dagar aims to protect the livelihoods of Delhi's remaining calligraphers as well.

In 2017, Dagar received the Nari Shakti Award -- the highest civilian honor for a woman in India.

In 2017, Dagar received the Nari Shakti Award -- the highest civilian honor for a woman in India.

Courtesy India Ministry of Women and Child Development

She created an organization called the Qalamkaari Creative Calligraphy Trust, which organizes events for artists to share their work with the public. In 2017, she received the Nari Shakti Award, which is the highest civilian honor for a woman in India.

Dagar is also passing on her own knowledge to the next generation.

She holds three-day workshops with young people at schools and leads calligraphy sessions at the Andaz Delhi Hotel to introduce tourists to the medium.

"Now, people are realizing the importance of [calligraphy] and what India can contribute to this field," she says. "There is no dearth of talent here."

Football news:

There is a real chance that 50-60 clubs will go bankrupt. The owner of Huddersfield about the consequences of the pandemic
Valverde about the game with Manchester City: we Want to play so that we can go further. Real is ready to do anything for this
Great selection from Roma: KAFU opens up in the box and waits for a pass, but instead Totti and Batistuta score masterpieces
Sabitzer has been exposed to coronavirus in April
In the 90s, the Russian club played in the Finnish championship: the players carried cigarettes, the President went on the field. It ended because of the default
Flick about Holand: it is the first season, so it is too early to compare it with Levandovsky
Felix sprained a knee ligament in training. This is his 3rd injury of the season at Atletico