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Sobia Mushtaq, a self-taught calligrapher from Kashmir

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Kashmir, which is often referred to as a land of Sufi saints, has always been famous for its rich culture and heritage. The values brought in by the scholars and saints hold great importance in the lives of the Kashmiri people.

“The roots of Arabic calligraphy are strongly embedded in Kashmir. They connect us to our spiritual being,” says Sobia Mushtaq, a 23-year-old young calligrapher from the Bandipora district of North Kashmir. “Arabic Calligraphy is a way of connecting to God,” she adds.

Sobia started doing calligraphy when she was in 7th standard but had to leave it as studies took most of her time. Sobia says she was always passionate about the art of calligraphy. She completed her post-graduation in English last year and is currently preparing for competitive exams. After completing her PG, she decided to take up the art and started posting her calligraphy works on social media. Soon people began to like her calligraphy and she started getting orders. She happily says, “People like my work and my family has always encouraged me to carry on with this artwork”. Whatever little money Sobia makes from her work, she buys pens, paint, ink and papers.

Sobia mainly does Arabic calligraphy. She used to make sketches but calligraphy is her main passion.

“Calligraphy enriches faith, connects me to the Quran. It helps me to strengthen my faith and draws me closer to Allah,” she says.

Sobia, being a self-taught calligrapher says that she learns by practice and by seeing videos online but she is against plagiarism of artwork. “One should come up with something new. I have imitated and used the traditional techniques to convert them into modern calligraphy,” she said.

Arabic script and Kashmiri script are similar. “I write Arabic and with a slight change I write Kashmiri,” Sobia says while sharing her aspiration to do wall calligraphy in future. She wants to do calligraphy on the walls, tombs and shrines in Kashmir.

Sobia says she does dual calligraphy combining modern backgrounds with Islamic calligraphy.

Sobia wants the younger generation of Kashmiris to learn this art. “It tells us about our faith. Whenever I write down any verse, I search for the meaning and try to understand it before writing. This is how it enhances my faith,” she says.

Sobia wants to open a calligraphy store one day. “It is important to get orders. This enhances confidence and also helps to get resources,” she says.

(Extracted from twocircles.net)