“The Musalman Daily”, is one of the oldest Urdu-language daily newspaper published from Chennai in India, and is probably the only one in the world that is still being handwritten. This four-page evening paper has managed to retain the old school look despite the availability of modern printing technology. “The Musalman Daily” has been around for the past 82 years since it’s inception in 1927 by founder Syed Azmathullah.
All four pages of the newspaper are handwritten by calligraphers, before being mass-produced with a printing press. The calligraphers, known as katibs, work in a little corner of a 800 sq. ft. one-room office. It takes three hours using a pen, ink and ruler to transform a sheet of paper into news and art. They don't have many facilities — only two wall fans, three bulbs and a tube light. Only last year did the editorl had a computer and a printer installed in his office so advertisers could email ads.
Each katib is responsible for one page. If someone is sick, the others pull double shifts -- there are no replacements anywhere in the city. When calligraphers make mistakes they rewrite everything from scratch. They earn 60 rupees (about $1.50) per page.
The final proofs are transferred onto a black and white negative, then pressed onto printing plates.
The handwritten stories are the Musalman’s biggest selling point. The paper has about 23,000 subscribers who pay less than $10 per year. Each copy of the newspaper sells at 75 paisa or about 1.6 cents.