Jalaluddin Sheikh, a master craftsman engraving emotions into walnut wood

SRINAGAR, Dec 6: Art speaks where words are unable to explain and Jalaluddin Sheikh, a 65-year-old man from the Srinagar district, has been expressing his imagination through wood art for the past 46 years from the small factory in his house.
He painstakingly and patiently carves such delicate and intricate masterpieces that the viewer is left looking.Jalaluddin decorated the main mosque of , including other major mosques, monasteries and shrines of the valley with his mesmerizing calligraphic works. His exquisitely crafted works of art are well-liked not only in the country but also abroad.
To create a wooden masterpiece, Jalaluddin first searches for the wood that can fit with the art, then cuts it and after the required measurements. He also carries out the process of confirming the wood himself.Digging on the canvas, then rubbing and burning the wood and rubbing again, and as the colour dissipates, he creates such carvings that the visitors get attracted to his work.
The special thing about Jalaluddin is that he does calligraphy in Arabic, and Urdu as well as Hindi, English, Sanskrit and Punjabi languages. A 64-year-old man from Kashmir Valley has proved that age is nothing but just a number. His handiwork has been gifted to several dignitaries, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the British Ambassador. He also has the honour of introducing Islamic calligraphy on wood.
Jalaluddin says that 40 tools are used to carve a piece of art, including many tools which are not available in the market. There again the tools have to be made according to the pattern and writing.Jalaluddin Shaikh, however, has so far engraved several Quranic verses on wood. But the carving of Surah Al-Nashrah, the last paragraph of the Holy Quran, is considered as one of his great works of art.
In the year 2007, Jalaluddin also got the opportunity to work in Dubai where he demonstrated his artistic skills for about 10 years.Sheikh Jalaluddin has been fond of wood carving since childhood. In the early 1970s, he became involved in this work after taking the frog test. After acquiring skills, he has also worked in a few woodcarving factories here.