A 57-year-old man from Gorakhpur district of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Raj Kumar Verma, has put up the world’s smallest Hanuman Chalisa for sale at the eight-day Industrial Handicraft Fair in Varanasi on Sunday. The Chalisa is a one-square-cm block.
The book, which is a eulogy to the monkey-god worshiped by Hindus in northern India, has everything that its pocket-sized cousin has. The Lakhtakiya (worth Rs 1 lakh) Hanuman Chalisa comprises 45 pages and 22 pictures of different forms of Hanuman.
“For many, it would seem to be highly exorbitant. Also, one has to use a magnifying glass to read it. But this Hanuman Chalisa, which took six months last year to come into existence, will one day have an ardent Hanuman devotee buyer,” said Verma, who has been into micro-painting for 33 years.
Owner of a cellphone and watch repair shop in Gorakhpur, Verma has not only the Chalisa to showcase at the fair, but also a map of India carved with 880 rice grains with the image of Mother India in its heart.
Priced at Rs 15,000, the map — when viewed through a magnifying glass — shows Vande Mataram painted in four Indian languages. What’s more, a UP State Handicraft Awardee in 1992, Verma has also Rs 10,000 images of seven Mughal emperors from Babur to Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Verma has, among his admirers, actor Aamir Khan, filmmaker Raj Kumar Santoshi and Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani.