Preservation of a Dream
May 22, 2011 1:11 PM   Subscribe

The last hand-written newspaper in the world - A brief film about The Musalman, which has been penned in Urdu calligraphy every day since 1927. via CreativeRoots

Handmade newspaper - Business Standard, 5-21-2011

A Handwritten Daily Paper in India Faces the Digital Future; accompanying slide show - Wired, 7-7-2007
posted by madamjujujive (15 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
That is incredible! I want a subscription. Is that possible?
posted by ian1977 at 1:39 PM on May 22, 2011

So it's double-obsolete then?
posted by dirtylittlecity at 1:42 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

that's amazing - i never knew there was such a thing as a hand written newspaper
posted by pyramid termite at 1:47 PM on May 22, 2011

Has anyone noticed that papyrus at 1:57 is the famous Oxyrhynchus mathematics fragment (in Greek)? It contains the oldest known diagram from Euclid's Elements of Geometry and currently resides at the University of Pennsylvania.
posted by honest knave at 1:51 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

this is the only newspaper that can give the boy who copies hundreds from the original the proper job term, COPYBOY.
posted by taxpayer at 1:55 PM on May 22, 2011

This film was produced by the recently founded Public Diplomacy Division of India’s Ministry of External Affairs. It appears to be the Indian equivalent of the British Council and the Public Diplomacy wing of the US State Department. It should not be confused with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which has been in existence since the 50s, and which is independent from the government, at least in principle.

I think public diplomacy is a good thing and wish them all the best.

c.f. "India launches public diplomacy office." The Times of India 05 May 2006 29 Jul 2008
posted by honest knave at 2:08 PM on May 22, 2011

i never knew there was such a thing as a hand written newspaper

These were also pretty common in Europe, although I can't find much out there on a cursory google other than this.

Interestingly, they remained a privileged news source long after the establishment of private newspapers, partly to route around censorship. There were also printed newspapers that included space for handwritten additions at the bottom of the page.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 2:16 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Interesting, GeorgeBickham, thanks. That sent me Googling and I found that apparently, handwritten papers were posted to disseminate news in Japan after the recent tsunami & quake, and the Newseum has acquired copies of these:

Handwritten Newspapers From Ravaged Japan

"When the worst earthquake in Japan's history and the subsequent tsunami knocked out all power in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, editors at the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun, the city's daily newspaper, printed news of the disaster the only way they could: by pen and paper.

For six consecutive days after the twin disasters, reporters used flashlights and marker pens to write their stories on poster-size paper and posted the "newspapers" at the entrances of relief centers around the city. Six staff members collected stories, while three spent an hour and a half each day writing the newspapers by hand."
posted by madamjujujive at 2:37 PM on May 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

from the video: "although their pay is nothing to write home about..."

posted by dhens at 4:28 PM on May 22, 2011

Lovely, thanks for this!
posted by carter at 4:38 PM on May 22, 2011

As usual for you, what a cool, unusual find, dear madamjujujive, who I love so much.

It's poignant to think of something so ephemeral as news, written in calligraphy. What a labor of love since 1927. "Calligraphy is the most highly regarded and most fundamental element of Islamic art."

The voice over, history and the visuals are sumptuous. Just the other day I was thinking about the Muslim craftsmen I knew in India, weavers, metalsmiths, wood carvers, the stone inlay artisans, embroiderers, painters and perfumers. Your post prompted me to do a little looking up about the history of this.

> When the tradition of Islamic arts and crafts was vibrant and widespread, it served as a bridge between physical and spiritual life. It was not only the artist or craftsman who drew closer to the Divine through his work, but also the user of the art whose spiritual intimacy was enhanced.

> Arabic writing has united Muslims the world over in all periods of their history. Islamic tradition sanctifies the art of writing; writing and calligraphy are the means of perpetuating the words of Allah in the Koran.

The six styles of Arabic cursive styles are thuluth, naskhi, rihan, muhaqaq, tawqi, and riqa....In both Kufic and cursive writing, the letters protruding above the line can have interlacing forms, or be ornamented, with palmettes, floral patterns, etc..

Urdu, the language of this handwritten newspaper, is rich and lends itself to poetry, both spoken and sung in a form called a ghazal.
posted by nickyskye at 5:17 PM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks again for a great find, mj3. You find things that delight the senses. As a former newspaper man, I like this kind of environment, and I confess that while watching it, I wanted to be able to smell this place. Yes, I want to smell it.
posted by planetkyoto at 10:24 PM on May 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

That's an amazing story.
posted by voferreira at 2:56 AM on May 23, 2011

This paper has a physical beauty which has no price. Also it was a delight to see the workers and their great pride in their jobs. They looked happy.
Thanks so much for posting this.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:15 AM on May 23, 2011

Thank you all for such good comments and the great in-thread links. And thanks to my long-time pals nickyskye and planetkyoto for such kind words.

You know, it is such a pleasure to share something special on mefi. If you find something neat that perhaps no one else in your life might particularly care about, you can always come here and share it among friends. Not only will you likely find fellow appreciators, you will usually find people who have first hand experience or know something in depth about the topic (honest knave's observation about Euclid's diagram) - or who simply have such a unique and delightful reaction. ("Yes, I want to smell it.")

That's one of the things about mefi that I love. Sharing treasures and the delightfulness of what you get back.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:45 PM on May 23, 2011

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