Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bhopal artist to engrave Ramayana on wood

Bhopal, Feb 17 (ANI)

Om Prakash Kushwaha, 55, is just like any other artist. However, that's where all the similarity ends. This resident of Bhopal is attempting a unique feat of writing the Ramayana on wood.

He claims to be inspired by divine intervention to undertake this Herculean task.According to him, the 'book' will have a total of 1075 pages, out of which 21 pages have been completed so far. The pages or the sheets are made of high quality 'Saugan' wood and Kushwaha uses a special tool to engrave the words on the wooden sheets."It takes me five to seven days to complete one page. To make sure that no word gets broken and everything is readable, I buy good quality of wood (Saugan), as it can be preserved for 1,000 years," says Kushwaha.The wooden sheets are pressed to keep their thickness at 1/4 of an inch, and their length at 18 inches and width, 14 inches. Each page is capable of accommodating 13 sentences.According to Kushwaha, it would take a truckload of wood and an investment of approximately 20,00,000 rupees (45350 dollars) to complete the book.He sees the whole endeavour as a service to God and believes all requirements would be taken care of by the almighty himself."There is no motive behind all this (writing the wooden Ramayana). It is a service to God. I don't want to make money out of it. If somebody comes and asks to put it up for exhibition, I might do it but I don't want to do business out of it. We are poor people and are content with our lives, we don't want fame or money," says Kushwaha.The work is being conducted under the guidance of experts who check every page after it is completed.Kushwaha believes the manuscript will have a shelf life of at least 1000 years because of the good quality of the wood and the treatment being given to it.Originally written in 'Sanskrit' by saint Valmiki, Ramayana is one of the most sacred epics of the Hindus, the other being the Mahabharata. Compiled in verse, it dates back to approximately the fifth century BC. (ANI)

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