Mumbai-based artist Salva Rasool's paintings find favourable reception in holy city Karbala
Mumbai has a long association with Karbala, the city in Iraq that of Imam Hussain, grandson of Hussain was martyred by Umayyad king Yazid’s army in 680 at Karbala and millions visit his shrine every year to pay their tribute to him.
According to Timesofindia.indiatimes.com, Mumbai’s association with Karbala has just got strengthened as city-based artist and Arabic calligrapher Salva Rasool’s paintings now adorn the walls of AL Qasr , a ’ residence, just a few minutes’ walk away from the holy shrine of Imam Hussain.
Owned by Mumbai-based Anjuman-e-Faiz-e-Panjetani, an organization of the Khoja Shias established in 1912, the Al Qasr Residence is the place that shelters hundreds of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Karbala. “It is pilgrims’ residence and open to all but Khoja Shias are given preference because it is a Khoja heritage property,” says Salmaan Moloobhoy, president, Anjuman-e-Faiz-e-Panjetani, from Dubai on phone. He adds that accommodation at the Residence is given at subsidized rate as it is run on a “no profit, no loss” basis. The hotels there are expensive as it is a big pilgrim site. During the Arabain or the chehlum, the 40th day of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, over 30 million pilgrims walk from Najaf, a city which houses the mausoleum of Hazrat Ali, to Karbala, a distance of 75 kilometers.
But how did Salva Rasool’s Islamic calligraphic paintings find their way to the hotel-like residence in Karbala? “We already have several of her works in our homes in Mumbai and Dubai.
Since Karbala is a sacred place and the Residence is so close to the shrine of Hazrat Imam Hussain that its domes are visible from the Residence, we thought her paintings would add up to the attraction. They enhance the ambience and we are proud that she comes from Mumbai, my city,” says Moloobhoy who, along with late community leader Mohib Ali Nasser and many others, fought a long battle against former Iraq ruler Saddam Hussain who had ordered confiscation of several Shia properties, including the musafirkhanas or pilgrims’ residences the Khojas owned at Karbala, Najaf and Kazmein, all in Iraq.
A graduate of Sir J J School of Arts where she also met her future husband Imran Rasool who owns a popular Islamic channel, Salva is recognized for her calligraphically created Arabic art. Her works adorn the walls of homes in Canada, Madagascar, Middle East, Singapore, South Africa, and the . “I feel privileged that my works adorn the walls of a pilgrims’ residence owned by an organization based in my city. I see it also as a tribute from me to Hazrat Imam Hussain who sacrificed for truth, justice and fairness,” says Salva.
She admits art is oxygen for her. Something we all need in abundance in these devastating times.