Behind the Scene
Believe It or Not
Succeeding in writing the entire Holy Quran in Arabic on a 5.5 inches by 3.6 inches postcard, the smallest space on which the entire Quran was ever written, Uttam has completed writing the date of Victory-Day of Bangladesh, the name of seven-Birsreshthas and famous places of the country on a 19mm by 17mm stamp which is ready to be exhibited. 'Within a few months it could be exhibited', said Uttam.
Earlier, he was able to write 'ALI', 1,26,878 times on a 5.5 inches by 3.6 inches postcard while 'FIFA' 1,17,146 times on the same-size postcard.
He has also copied 20 poems from Tagore's 'Gitanjali' in English on a British definitive stamp (1st class). The number of letters of the 20 poems is 12,679 which is 3,000 letters more than the present world record, Uttam claimed.
World famous Ripley's Believe It or Not in a letter to Uttam declared his skill in miniature art as 'unbelievable'. They also made 'News Cartoon' about Uttam's skill in 180 newspapers of 43 countries and exhibited his miniature art in 21 big cities of the world.
At the age of ten only, Uttam left his poverty-stricken family of Daxin-Simulia in Magura Sadar upazila to join his sister in Burdwan of West Bengal. However, his sister was also struggling to survive in India. Uttam was forced to seek employment as an assistant sales boy at a sweet-shop where he by accident seriously injured his right thumb. The accident changed his life. Uttam returned to Magura and resumed his studies at the primary school of his village. He had lost his father at the age of seven months and with a family of four children his mother toiled hard to keep Uttam at school.
About 19 years later, Uttam Kumar Biswas obtained Master's degree in Political Science from Dhaka College. Uttam then acquired the skill in miniature writing. He wrote the entire Holy Quran in Arabic on a post card and also the Bhagabat Geeta in English on the same-size post card.
“I learnt Arabic and Sanskrit in my school in Magura. Since my childhood I have always wanted to do something innovative”, says Uttam. “I did not have means to embark on a big project, so I thought of doing something that I could afford. In the early nineties I read an article in a Bangla newspaper on miniature writing and art and I was immediately interested in it” Uttam discloses.
Uttam then went on to procure a volume of the Guinness Book of World Records in which he read about strange human endeavours to break records. In 1987 Uttam bought a set of 0.3 lead pencils and started to practise miniature writing and art work. In 1992, he produced his first marvel by drawing the world map on a grain of mustard. As people around him saw and appreciated his work, Uttam got motivated to pursue his miniature works. On a single grain of paddy, he drew the flags of seven SAARC nations. Then the Eiffel Tower of Paris and Tajmahal of Agra were skillfully drawn on grains of paddy.
“Man has always wanted to break records and I think I have broken some of them”, says Uttam, proudly displaying his miniature works. “My dream is to enlist my name in the Guinness Book of World Records as a Bangladeshi.”
The then American president, Mr. Bill Clinton sent a thank you letter to Uttam as he used his skills to write the name of the American president 56 times on a single grain of paddy in English. Uttam had framed it inside a silver box fitted with a magnifying glass and sent it to the president. On a single grain of paddy. Uttam also drew the Shahid Minar, the National flag of Bangladesh and wrote the name of the present President of Bangladesh, Professor Iazuddin Ahmed 10 times. On August 7, 2003, he met the President and presented him the paddy framed inside a silver box along with a magnifying glass.
About the perfection in copying the Quran, Uttam said, he showed the work to many religious personalities in Magura district who used a powerful magnifying glass to check and said they could not find any fault.
Uttam expresses his intention to set up a miniature art and writing museum in Dhaka. “Many of our youths could learn the skill and use it even in architectural schemes. We, in the sub-continent, had a very rich tradition of miniature art and writing”, Uttam comments.
As he comes of a poor family, he sought government or non-government patronisation to fulfill his dream in setting up the miniature art and writing museum.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006