Indelible ink


A pen-making legacy of pre-Independence vintage flourishes in Rajahmundry

 

Located in a narrow lane in Rajahmundry of Andhra Pradesh, the tiny, traditional home of K.V. Ratnam & Sons is the keeper of a precious legacy. It is from here that many handmade, ebonite fountain pens made their way into the hands of freedom fighters to script stories of independence and struggle.

As you enter the house on Fort Gate Street, the first thing that greets the eye is a laminated handwritten letter by Mahatma Gandhi: “Dear Ratnam, I must thank you for the fountain pen you sent me… I have needed it and [it] seems to be a good substitute to the foreign pen. Yours sincerely, M.K. Gandhi, 16.7.1935.” The letter inspired K.V. Ratnam and his family to take forward the enterprise of manufacturing fountain pens under the name of Ratnam Pen Works. Ratnam’s son, K.V. Ramana Murty, now carries forward the legacy.

It all began in 1921 when Ratnam met Gandhiji in Wardha and presented a metal mould. But the latter advised Ratnam to create something from “pin to pen”, which were then being imported extensively. In 1932, he sent his first handmade pen to Gandhiji, who rejected it as some foreign materials were used in its making. A determined Ratnam worked hard for the next one year. In 1933, when All India Village Industries Association secretary J.C. Kumarappa visited Rajahmundry, Ratnam handed over the first “Swadeshi” pen to Gandhiji.....Read more

 

Source web page: The Hindu


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