Saran Sasikumar and family present Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's portrait to Indian minister V. Muraleedharan. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A 14-year-old boy in Dubai is on cloud nine after receiving a letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanking him for a special Modi portrait that he had drawn last month.

As reported by Gulf News in January, Saran Sasikumar, a grade nine student of New Indian Model School in Dubai had made a six-layered stencil portrait of Modi as a tribute to mark the Indian Republic Day that fell on January 26.

The portrait, measuring 90cmx60cm, was handed over to Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan during his UAE visit in January to be gifted to Modi. After receiving the portrait, Modi has sent a letter to Saran thanking him for the portrait, appreciating his creativity and encouraging him to excel in arts and academics.

A scanned copy of the letter dated February 18 was emailed by the Prime Minister’s Office, Saran’s father Sasikumar. G told Gulf News. A copy of the email sent by Dr. Hiren Joshi, officer on special duty (Communications and Information Technology) to the PM, was shared with Gulf News.

What did Modi write to Saran?

In the letter, Modi has acknowledged receiving “the beautiful portrait” sent by Saran and extended “heartfelt gratitude” for sending him the creative work.

“Art is an effective medium to express our innermost thoughts and emotions and connect our imagination to creativity. The portrait drawn by you reflects your undying commitment and dedication to painting, as well as your love and affection for the nation,” the Prime Minister opined.

He stated that Saran’s work highlighted his keen observation and understanding of the nuances of painting. “I am sure that you will take your artistic skills to higher levels of excellence in the years to come. May you continue to draw many more beautiful portraits and at the same time, excel in the academic sphere. Best wishes for a bright and successful future,” Modi added before concluding the letter with his signature.

What was Saran’s reply?

Saran said he and his family were elated after receiving the email on Friday and were thankful to the minister and the Indian Consulate in Dubai for helping his painting reach the Prime Minister. “Being a big fan of the Indian Prime Minister, I consider this as a very big achievement,” he said.

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He also shared his reply to the PMO, thanking Modi for the gesture and expressing his desire to meet him one day. “I am deeply honoured and grateful for your touching response and kind words. As an artist, there is no greater privilege than to receive a compliment from you and as a proud Indian, I too hope to be able to contribute to the nation in whatever way I can in the future. This letter brings a lot of joy and pride to me and also for my family,” Saran wrote.

He also took the opportunity to shower thanks and praises on Modi. “Your dedicated services and relentless work for our nation makes all of us feel extremely happy and proud.”

Modi had inspired him as a leader since his childhood days and he had been closely following his speeches and actions, Saran stated.

Saran had drawn the picture of Modi receiving a guard of honour during the 50th year celebration of the foundation of India’s Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in 2019. The PM is seen wearing a wide-brimmed cavalry hat with the logo of CISF while saluting the CISF guards.

In his email Saran elaborated why he chose that specific photo of Modi for the portrait.

“I made this portrait on our Republic Day considering the national spirit [of] and [the] services [that] our defence team is performing to safeguard our nation spearheaded by your administration. India as a whole is in a very different perspective under your administration which we can feel here in UAE also.”

His next wish

In the letter, Saran also expressed his desire to meet the Prime Minister. “It is my long-cherished dream to meet you and I am very much aware of the complexities and difficulties. Despite the current circumstances and your extremely busy schedule, I would be extremely grateful if I could get an opportunity to meet with yourself in the near future,” he added, before thanking Modi once again.

Speaking to Gulf News, Saran said he equally wished to meet the leaders of the UAE once he finishes his current project to draw the portraits of all the Rulers.

His dream project

“I would like to complete the portraits of all the Rulers after my ongoing exams and I wish to present them as my tribute to this country on its 50th anniversary. My dream project is to paint a 50metre-canvas with images of people and landmarks related to the UAE on the occasion,” said Saran.

Among the UAE leaders, he has made 90cmx60cm multilayered stencil portraits of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces offers, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council as well as His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

Hitting a century

Having begun the hobby of making stencil art portraits since the Stay Home period of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Saran has finished making 100 such portraits so far.

Saran (second from right) hit century by painting a group portrait of his family-1613972631690
Saran's 100th painting was a group portrait of his family comprising his parents Sasikumar. G and Bindhu Sasikumar and his brother Sarath Sasikumar. Image Credit: Supplied

The 100th one was a group portrait of his family comprising his parents Sasikumar. G and Bindhu Sasikumar and his brother Sarath Sasikumar.

Having entered multiple record books and won different awards in a short span of time, Saran said he chose the family photo for his 100th portrait as a token of his love and gratitude for them. “I couldn’t have done anything without the support from my parents and brother. Also, this is my first attempt at making a group portrait. So far, I had included only up to two people in a portrait, which was mainly done on the wedding anniversaries of my parents and relatives.”

Saran also expressed his gratitude to his art teacher Krishnanand M, who said Modi’s letter to Saran “is a great achievement for the school as well as the art department.”

The NIMS Group UAE has also congratulated Saran and posted his portrait and Modi’s letter on social media.