INKED IN INDIA: Fountain Pens and a Story of Make and Unmake by Bibek Debroy, Sovan Roy (Author) 

About The Book

In the early 1900s, a Bengali doctor created the first Indian fountain pen in Varanasi. Despite this early start, foreign-made pens dominate the Indian market, with no notable Indian brand available to customers.

Inked in India traces this journey of make and unmake, from a pre-Independence India with a strong manufacturing base for pens, nibs and ink, to the post-Independence economic policies which eroded that competitive advantage and led to economic churn and the exit of foreign firms from the country. Going beyond the nostalgia and lost sheen of fountain pens, it tackles economic transition and the impact of policy on local enterprise.

Just as there has been exit, post-liberalization, there has been entry too, in what is often perceived to be a sunset sector. The book takes stock of what it will take to transform the unmake in India to make in India, so that Indian fountain pens have a global presence. The first-ever documentation of all known fountain pen, nib and ink manufacturers, Inked in India will be of great interest to fountain pen aficionados and economic enthusiasts alike.

About The Author

Bibek Debroy was born in Shillong and educated in Calcutta, Delhi and Cambridge. He is an economist and author, who has worked in academia, private organizations and for the government. He is the author of several books, popular articles and professional papers. In 2020, his monograph, A Fountain Pen Story was published by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), highlighting policies that constrained fountain pen manufacture in India. He collects and uses fountain pens.

Sovan Roy was born in Guwahati and educated in Durgapur and Banaras Hindu University. He works for the Government of West Bengal and writes on science, history of science, Indology, technology, environment and ecology. He has published in the popular media, as well as in scientific journals. In 2019, he authored a book titled Radhika Nath Saha: Unsung Hero of Indian Fountain Pen, rediscovering the history of fountain pen manufacture in India. He collects and uses fountain pens.

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