O P Khushwah, an artist in Bhopal, is making a unique attempt to engrave the Hindu epic Ramayana on wooden sheets, which he believes can last over 1,000 years.
Originally written by poet Valmiki, Ramayana narrates the story of Lord Rama and presents stages of life through allegory.
Kushwah, 55, has prepared 1,075 wooden sheets for his attempt, which is believed to be the first of its kind. Forty pages have been completed in the last six months. Each page measuring 14'' by 18'' needs a week's time to complete and can be used to write 13 sentences.
The sheets are of expensive teak wood, which is known for its fine quality.
He says that it was Lord Rama who inspired him to take up this Herculean task and there is no other motive than devotion towards Him.
"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. There is no personal motive behind my attempt," said Kushwah.
A specially prepared tool is being used to engrave words on sheets of Saugan wood. The unique endeavour will cost about Rupees 25 lakh to complete, which Kushwah hopes will be taken care of by Lord Rama.
"To complete the entire work on Ramayana at least one truck full of wood is required and it would cost Rupees 24-25 lakh approximately but I hope Lord Rama will help me arrange this," says Kushwah.
"Due to financial constraints, I will take two more years to complete this Ramayana. A lot of money will be spent on this but the biggest satisfaction is that it will not get ruined for at least 1,000 years, as it will remain in its original shape, " says Kushwah.
Kushwah has started the work with the Sundarkand chapter and it will take another two-three months to complete the episode.
The work is being carried out under the guidance of various experts on Ramayana.
Before the latest attempt, Khushwah had been successful in narrating a few selected anecdotes on wooden sheets from religious texts.
Ramayana's main characters --Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India.
Originally written by Valmiki, Ramayana has been traditionally divided into seven books, dealing with the life of Rama from his birth to his death. These seven being - Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindya Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda and Uttara Kanda.
Sundara Kanda relates the journey of the god Hanuman to Lanka, the abode of the king Ravana, where he finds Sita, Rama's wife, has been imprisoned and brings back the news of her welfare to Rama.