His mission was to promote Thirukkural among today's generation. A few days ago, Jaswant completed his mission and is excited about the outcome. “Holy books talk about a particular community/religion. But Thirukkural transcends caste, creed and nationality. It is one of the greatest works ever written on secular ethics and morality. Thirukkural, written by Thiruvalluvar, is the only text that has been admired by scholars across the world. Though it’s written over two millennia ago, all the 1,330 couplets are relevant today. But most of us don’t know the importance of these kurals that have been written to benefit humanity. I am a huge admirer of Thiruvalluvar and wanted to promote his teachings to as many people as possible. Engraving 1,330 couplets on palm leaves is just a small project from my side," says Jaswant Singh from his home in Mogappair.
He used an ezhuthani to engrave the kurals. "The 2020 lockdown was a blessing in disguise for me. I utilised that time to finish this project. It is not easy to engrave on palm leaves - you need to practice it and needs a lot of patience. Another reason for this project is that I wanted to preserve Thirukkural on palm leaves. These palm leaves can be handed down to many generations. Unlike paper that has limited durability, palm leaves can be preserved for 700 years," he explains.
To make palm leaves suitable for writing, Jaswant mixed palm leaves with spices and papaya leaves and used an ezhuthani to engrave kurals. “After engraving, the writings weren’t visible. So, I made a paste out of karisalankanni keerai. I dried the keerai leaves and then burned them with camphor. Then, I mixed the ash and lemongrass oil and made it into a smooth paste. I applied this on the leaf to make engravings more visible. This way, the engraving will last for many years,” Jaswant quips.
A nature lover, he has a garden that houses around 1,000 varieties of plants and 350 varieties of herbs. In 2019, to showcase his admiration for Thiruvalluvar and his teachings, Jaswant had carved out the iconic Tamil poet’s image on two trees in his garden. “All these activities are small ways of propagating Thiruvalluvar and his teachings. I wanted to inspire students to learn Thirukkural and understand its significance," he sums up.