Kerala

This Preamble is crafted by deft needlework

Umarani Sundar with the embroidered Preamble of Indian Constitution on a 60x40 inch cloth.

Umarani Sundar with the embroidered Preamble of Indian Constitution on a 60x40 inch cloth. | Photo Credit: C. SURESHKUMAR

As the nation is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Umarani Sundar, a Kollam resident, has found her own way to mark the momentous occasion. The 67-year-old homemaker has embroidered the Preamble of Indian Constitution on a 60x40 inch cloth. She had to work for nearly 10 hours a day during the last five months to complete the work.

It was T.M. Krishna’s rendition of the Preamble, a musical tribute to the Constitution, that prompted her to take up the painstaking project. “It set me thinking and I decided to use my art to do the same,” she says. Ms. Sundar did a trial in English which was a much simpler exercise compared to the Malayalam version that required a lot of precision. “The first work was small in size and I completed it in less than 40 days. The Malayalam Preamble was exclusively done to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence. I had to work late into the night as the deadline was very near,” she adds.

The Malayalam factor

Originally from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu and settled in Kerala for the last 50 years, she had to redo some parts of the text several times. “Tamil is my mother tongue and though I can converse in Malayalam and read the script, I lack proficiency in writing. Malayalam is a very complicated language with so many symbols. Very often my grandchildren will point out some mistake and ask me to correct the ‘chandrakala’ and ‘chunippu’ marks. Removing the thread without ruining the cloth wasn’t easy and at times entire rows were reworked to correct a single alphabet. Most Indian languages are not suited for cross-stitch and that was one major challenge I faced,” she says.

Tamil, Telugu, Kannada

Ms. Sundar plans to repeat the work in all south Indian languages including Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. “I feel Telugu and Kannada will be a little difficult since I don’t know the script. I think it will take more than six months to complete a piece and I need a basic level understanding of the languages first. Still, I want to try,” she adds.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 11:47:58 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/the-preamble-crafted-by-deft-needlework/article65765033.ece