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The Royal Insignia

Arts & Crafts ....
Reproduced from :

By a Staff Reporter
August 14, 1976


LUCKNOW, Aug, 13 - Begum Hazrat Mahal sat in one corner of the banquet hall in Hotel Clarks Avadh under a richly decorated canopy of silk. She was dressed in all her Moghul finery. The Begum held the trunk of a 'hookah' in one hand, and listened in silence to the chief guest of evening. Mrs. Mohsina Kidwai, Minister of Small-Scale Industries, says that Indian women have through the ages, consciously, or unconsciously, helped to preserve and carry forward our traditions and culture. They have played an equally significant role in shaping the destiny of the country.

Begum Hazrat Mahal, she said, was such a woman who continues to inspire us all, even today. Mrs. Kidwai requested social welfare agencies and cultural organizations to promote the cause of the artisans. Their craft is one important way of propagating our culture throughout the world and for earning for the country a lot of foreign exchange.

After the formalities were over, all footsteps turned to where the Begum sat, to discover that she was a doll! But what a beautiful doll! For many a minute all just stood before the Begum's canopy and admired the art with which she had been made. Most admirers had wonder in their eyes.

The function was held this evening for the unveiling ceremony of a life-size doll of Begum Hazrat Mahal made by Shamsi Saheb.

Shamsi Saheb has magic in his finger tips. He was recently in the news when the Ghalib Committee, New Delhi, bought from him a life-size doll of Ghalib. Shamsi Saheb comes from a highly religious family of Muslims. It is a sacrilegious act for this community to make idols of any kind because it considered doll making such an act, his family threatened Shamsi with all sorts of dire consequences if he continued to do so. But the little boy was obsessed with the colourful and imaginative world where dolls he spoke, danced and sang. And looking at the dolls he makes today it is difficult to discern whether one beholds a vision, a living reality or a mere imitation of the human form.

This life-size doll of the Begum will be placed at the Central Design Centre Museum. The Begum will also be on display for the public at Hotel Clarks Avadh on August 15 from morning till evening.

A telegram sent by Prince Anjum Qadar, the great grandson of Begum Hazrat Mahal, was read out the same evening. He congratulated Shamsi Saheb and promised to visit him on August15, to look up his great grandmother.

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