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World’s only handwritten newspaper ‘Musalman’ is still alive and sells at 79 paisa

With rapid digitization and diminishing print media in its wake, there is still a hand-written newspaper known with a name ‘Musalman’ that sells at 79 paisa in India.

The four-page newspaper is published from Chennai, and has roughly 21,000 readers. The Musalman has stood the test of time, and has been in production for the past 91 years. It is an evening paper with four pages, all of which are handwritten by calligraphers, before being mass-produced with a printing press.

Handwritten newspaper Musalman India

The newspaper was founded by Syed Azmathullah in 1927.

In its office in Chennai, a dark green visiting card bears the newspaper’s name and that of its editor, Sayed Arifullah, and lists the 13 degrees he holds, reports the Hindu.

Handwritten newspaper Musalman India

Since its inception, the newspaper has seen three editors: Azathulla, his son Syed Fazlullah and now, Arifullah. When I ask if he had always planned to take over the reins from his father, he shrugs. “It was important that the newspaper be kept running and so I chose to do it. I edit, I write, and I run the paper now.”

Handwritten newspaper Musalman India

The paper has readers all over the country. “Delhi, Kolkata… families who have been subscribing to the newspaper for generations. We send them the paper by courier. It’s a very personal process,” says Arifullah.

The newspaper carries a few advertisements, in English and Urdu, for jewellery, furniture, tour operators, even a few government tenders. Otherwise, it largely sticks to a format.

Handwritten newspaper Musalman India

The front page is for national and international news, the second and the third pages are for local news, and the fourth page is for sports. Some space is left blank at the bottom right corner of the front page, in case there is some breaking news.

Later, the page would be filled with available content before going to the press.

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