Exhibition of rare manuscripts at National Museum

An exhibition of rare manuscripts with reference to the holy month of Muharram organised by the culture department of the Sindh government opened at the National Museum of Pakistan on Thursday.

The display comprises a variety of unique manuscripts, both in verse and prose, related to the tragic events of Karbala and related subjects.

One of the most engaging exhibits is ‘Hamla-i-Haidari’ by Mirza Rafi in which the great feats of Hazrat Ali are described in the Persian language. The three-centuries-old-copy of the book is wonderfully illuminated and one of its marked features is the 45 beautiful illustrations that accompany the text. These illustrations look like paintings and the viewer can tell that a great deal of creativity has gone into its publication. The fine lines, the delightful colours and the careful finishing are of a very high quality.

Another exhibit is ‘Aqwal-i-Hazrat Ali’. It is a 150-year-old nuskha with Persian translations of the golden words.

‘Tazkira-i-Masoomeen’ by Mohammad Mehdi is on display as well. It’s an 18th century piece. ‘Dastan-i-Gham’ by Badrud Daulah can also be read. According to a museum official, there are two copies of it, one is two centuries old and the other is a hundred years old. Both ‘Tazkira-i-Masoomeen’ and ‘Dastan-i-Gham’ are pieces of impressive writing on Karbala. ‘Dastan-i-Mohammad Hanafia’ and ‘Dastan Haey Aemma’ are other examples of works of prose.

Then there are quite a few copies of manzoom nuskhe (manuscripts in verse) which date back to 18th and 17th centuries.

‘Khazana-i-Ma’arfat’ is one of them.

The exhibition will continue for a fortnight.

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