‘Katibs’ Showcase Dying Art Of Urdu Calligraphy in Delhi

Katibs in Delhi are setting up workshops across the city to engage more people in the art form.

Published
NEON
2 min read
Katibs in Old Delhi.
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Old Delhi’s charming streets were once home to Urdu calligraphers or as they were endearingly called katibs (from kitabat or calligraphy, which was a greatly celebrated art form back in the day).

With the advancement in print and digitisation, the art form began waning. However, custodians of Urdu and Arabic calligraphy found survival by a group of young college students from Enactus NSUT – who, in a bid to draw focus on the artists – started ‘Project Kitabat’.

Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: Enactus NSUT)

Project Kitabat is helping katibs by making them relevant in the current Indian market and thereby reviving the art of Urdu calligraphy and making it suitable for contemporary times.

After successfully collaborating with a small group of calligraphers, Project Kitabat aided them in setting up stalls at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019 in Connaught Place in Delhi. From live calligraphy sessions to merchandise, katibs exhibited their work for the Delhi audience, which came in big numbers in support.

Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: Enactus NSUT)
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: Enactus NSUT)
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: Enactus NSUT)
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
Katibs at the Urdu Heritage Festival 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: Enactus NSUT)

Through platforms such as these, katibs in Delhi are setting up workshops across the city to engage more people in the art form – to learn and to appreciate. The initiative by Enactus NSUT is empowering these artisans to carry forward the legacy of Urdu calligraphy. By becoming teachers and opening small businesses, katibs are sustaining a significant aspect of our culture.

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