LIFESTYLE

These Photographs Capture The Humble Typewriter's Role In Indian Public Life

Type away.

13/12/2016 3:31 PM IST | Updated 19/12/2016 11:15 AM IST
Godrej Archives
Test typists working on the Godrej M-12 typewriter in the 1960s.

In the age of smartphones, typewriters may seem like relics from another era. However, the humble device was once an important facilitator of social change in India, forming an important part of the offices of large organisations, as well as outdoor workplaces on streets.

The typewriter is the subject of a new book called With Great Truth & Regard, edited by Sidharth Bhatia, with images from the Godrej Archive and photographs taken by Chirodeep Chaudhuri. The book encapsulates the history of the typewriter in India, and how it found a home in the offices of numerous government departments, as well as commercial firms and private employers. As the demand for skilled typists grew in the colonial period, it also became a tool for women and individuals to find employment as typists.

Between 1910 and 1950, about half a million typewriters were imported in India. In the 1950s, typewriters began to be manufactured in India, and over the years, Indian companies such as Godrej & Bryce began exporting typewriters. However, after 2000, as computer sales went up, the demand for the machines has been falling.

Godrej Archives
Jawaharlal Nehru typing on a Godrej typewriter at the Avadi session of the Indian National Congress in 1955.

Godrej Archives
Journalists in the media room a the Seventh Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Delhi in 1983.

Godrej Archives
The Parsi Homeopathic Pharmacy at Dhobi Talao in Mumbai.

Godrej Archives
The design team at Godrej during a training session in 1972.

Godrej Archives
The Godrej Typewriter Plant in Vikhroli, Mumbai in the 1970s.

Chirodeep Chaudhuri
A Halda Devanagari keyboard poster on the walls of the Modern Era Stenographic Institute in Sringar.

Chirodeep Chaudhuri
The Tis Hazari District Court in Delhi.

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