U M T Raja, a miniature artist from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, wanted to do something different as India celebrates 75 years of Independence.
While brainstorming ideas, a line he learnt during his school days resonated in his mind–“Namadhu India thai nattai kan pol kakka ventum”, meaning “we must protect our Indian motherland like our eyes”.
Drawing inspiration from the line, the 52-year-old artist decided to sketch the national flag in his eye. He successfully placed Tricolour on the sclera of his eye for 20 minutes on August 5. Videos and photographs of his feat have gone viral, invoking the spirit of patriotism among netizens.
Talking to indianexpress.com over the phone, Raja said, “We owe the freedom we enjoy today to the pain of our leaders. If they suffered a lot of pain for us, then why can’t I tolerate this pain?”
He said that he used a thin membrane of egg white and placed it in the white portion of his eye. Later, he placed the Tricolour over it. It was successful after 16 attempts, and after 20 minutes he felt a burning sensation in his eyes. He splashed water on his eyes and the disturbance persisted for a while.
He also added a word of caution that everyone should not attempt it. The man, whose initials stand for “Unnal Mudiyum Thambi” (you can do it, brother), remained undeterred after his attempts with a sticker and a contact lens failed.
Dr R Kaviya, an eye specialist from Kuniyamuthur in Coimbatore, said that such attempts should not be made by common people without expert supervision. The doctor whom Raja consulted said his attempt was safe because it was done with a thin membrane of egg white and it was placed on the sclera, not on the cornea. “There are studies saying the egg white membrane is safe to place on the eye. However, if the colour dilutes inside the eye, it will pose danger,” she added.
Raja, a goldsmith, has been a miniature artist since the age of 25. Every year, on Independence day, he creates artworks paying tribute to freedom fighters.