She has drawn hundreds of paintings of Lord Krishna over the past six years, but her faith has not allowed her to keep one at home. She has offered the portraits of little Krishna to the famous Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple in Thrissur in recent years, but tradition and customs have not allowed her to enter the shrine or present it in front of the sanctum sanctorum.
As non-Hindus are not allowed inside the ancient temple, she would place her painting near the hundi in front of the gate or hand it over to the shrine staff on Vishu and Janmashtami days every year. But, all this has never drained the spirit and desire of this pious Muslim woman, from a conservative family in Koyilandy in this district of northern Kerala, to draw the paintings of the Hindu deity.
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Apart from the strong objections of her relatives and members of her community, Jasna Salim, a 28-year-old housewife, has made over 500 paintings of little Lord Krishna, which have a large number of takers inside and out of state. And, now the untrained painter says her happiness has no limits as she could directly present a painting of her in a Hindu temple after they officially requested it.
Ulanadu Sree Krishna Swamy temple, located near Pandalam in Pathanamthitta district, ritually accepted his painting on Sunday, depicting little Krishna with a pot of butter, after inviting her there. “It was truly a dream come true for me. It was for the first time in my life that I walked into a temple and saw the idol of a deity standing in front of the sanctum sanctorum,” said Salim. at PTI.
Although once she visited a family temple near her home here during a festival, she did not approach the sanctum sanctorum or see the deity. “It was truly a moving experience … the temple authorities explained the rituals to me. I opened the painting standing in front of the sanctum sanctorum and showed it to the deity. The priest adorned the painting with ‘a garland of tulsi’, the woman mentioned. A mother of two, Salim said she was approached by temple authorities after seeing a photo dedicated to Guruvayur Temple by her during the last Janmashtami.
The management informed the painter recently that a group of devotees based in Pune wanted to donate a small painting of Krishna to the village temple and they wanted Salim to draw it. Since non-Hindus are not prohibited from entering the village shrine, the Muslim artist could visit the temple in person and present his work to the deity. Interestingly, all of his paintings, whether done on canvas or glass, focus on only one theme: the child Krishna with his pot of butter.
The artist said that she could only draw little Lord Krishna with such perfection and failed to do other themes with such grace. “I don’t know the reason … I’m actually an accidental artist and have no professional training … I started painting all of a sudden six years ago when I was pregnant and that I was bedridden after an accident. I can only paint Lord Krishna with perfection, “said Salim.
When she drew the first painting of the Hindu deity, her husband advised her to destroy it as it could irritate her conservative parents and other relatives. But, Salim said his conscience did not allow him to do so and so he gifted it to a Namboothiri family living nearby. The family, who had kept the painting in their room in Pooja, later claimed that many of their wishes were subsequently granted.
“The story of the Muslim woman painting Lord Krishna spread quickly in the area and several people started to contact me to paint. Many others also claimed that their unfulfilled wishes were granted after having it. placed with them. I don’t know anything about that, “she said. Now even celebrities are placing orders to get small paintings of Krishna from this young artist. Not just from Kerala, but it also receives orders from neighboring states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
She paints at least five to six paintings per month and charges up to ??5,000 depending on its size. “My husband, who works in Dubai, has supported me a lot from the start. The majority of his friends are from the Hindu community. Now my parents also have no objection as they know that I will not deviate from my faith and anything against my religious principles, ”the Muslim artist said. The parents only wanted her not to keep Krishna’s paintings at home, which she strictly respects. However, many of his relatives were still not convinced by his work.
“I am not doing anything wrong and therefore it is not necessary for me to take their objection seriously. According to my religion, the words of my father and my husband are the top priority for me. They have no objections to it. what I do, if my paintings bring happiness to others, why should I stop? ” she asked. The woman, who had to stop her studies in grade 10, now has another dream in mind: to offer a painting of Lord Krishna to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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