06 June 2011

[design] Quite Possibly The Only Handwritten Newspaper On The Planet

2634.In Chennai, India, there's a 4-page newspaper with a circulation of about 22,000. It's in Urdu, and its layout engine is pen and ink.

Called The Musalman (which, if I understand correctly, kind-of translates to "the Mohammedan" or maybe "the Muslim"), is a general-interest paper with local and international news. It's an evening daily paper.

In a corner of a rather small office, four calligraphers or katibs work about four hours each to turn out the four pages every day. The office employs Hindu as well as Muslim creeds and men as well as women. This is a 10-minute mini-documentary about it that shows the staff in action, ink flowing for the love of the art, and the passion for a news paper that serves and cares for all its audience:


The most inspiring word was said by the current editor, who explains that they could perhaps go computerized like their competition, but the heart of The Musalman is the calligraphy, and without the heart, what would be the point?

There is a great gallery mounted by Wired magazine here: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/multimedia/2007/07/gallery_calligraphers as well Wikipedia's article about it here. Also, if you do an image search on Musalman you'll get this display.

All very passionate and very, very elegant. Very human. 

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