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Beacons of love in times of strife

Beacons of love in times of strife
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As a child, Anil Chouhan was fascinated by the calligraphy on the walls of mosques in and around Hussaini Alam in the Old City. A chance meeting with Khaja, a painter & calligrapher, turned things around, and within no time, Anil who was in his late forties picked up the brush.

Hyderabad: As a child, Anil Chouhan was fascinated by the calligraphy on the walls of mosques in and around Hussaini Alam in the Old City. A chance meeting with Khaja, a painter & calligrapher, turned things around, and within no time, Anil who was in his late forties picked up the brush.

Chouhan taught himself to read and write Urdu and also developed a passion for all religions. A regular visitor to temple, he also developed an interest on the meanings of verses in the Holy Quran. Presently working at the Masjid-e-Hussaini in Old Bowenpally, he says, "At this mosque I am doing work on chalk. I am invited by not just mosques from the city but also from nearby districts in Telangana."

The Jamia Nizamia Islamic University in the Old City, appreciating his work, gave him permission and a letter, stating that he can take up work in mosques. He wrote 'Sura Yaseen,' one of the chapters from the Quran, for Jamia Nizamia. When quizzed about the present protests against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), he observed, "I've seen a lot of riots in the late 70s and 80s. This too shall pass. I only believe in 'insaniyat' (humanity)."

Apart from painting Quranic verses, he visits the Bagdal dargah near Zaheerabad to sing 'nathiya kalam' (religious songs). A CD of the recitations of the former Prime Minister of the Nizam, Kishen Pershad, that he came up with is something he is proud of. "We have always lived in perfect harmony. All this hungama too shall pass," he says as he immerses himself in his work with the reed pen and ink.

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