The mass circulation Urdu newspapers of Pakistan, which have been winning the circulation battle with their English language competitors,a are produced and printed by the most modern methods -- except for one thing -- they're written entirely by hand.
LV Front wall of newspaper market in Lahore with painted newspaper titles
CU Display of colourful magazines and papers
CU & SV people looking at display of magazines on pavement (2 shots)
SV & CU calligraphers writing their banner headlines in open air (3 shots)
SV & CU Hafiz Yusuf sharpening his kalam (2 shots)
SCU Yusuf working on illuminated page
SV & CU man laying out newspaper page (2 shots)
CU Proof reader at work
SV & LV Urdu paper coming off press (2 shots)
CU & SV newspaper vendors in street (2 shots)
SV & CU Int. Pakistanis reading papers (2 shots)
Initials SC/2015 SC/2047
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Background: The mass circulation Urdu newspapers of Pakistan, which have been winning the circulation battle with their English language competitors,a are produced and printed by the most modern methods -- except for one thing -- they're written entirely by hand.
The noisy machines which set the metal type in most newspaper offices have no place here. Teams of skilled calligraphers quietly shape the curves and place the dots of the Urdu language with a bamboo pen -- sometimes to the gentle sound of the sitar.
The newspaper reading public of Pakistan will accept any innovation in their morning read -- except changes in typography. For calligraphy is almost a sacred art. The Koran was written and copied by Muslim Kings and queens and their ministers for centuries as a sacred act. It is traditional and readers will not accept anything but handwritten texts.
Many scripts and typefaces are available but any publisher who brought in machines and metal type lost so much circulation they had to turn back to the traditional calligraphers to survive.
Even "Musawat" -- Equality, the family newspaper of Pakistan Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto which preaches Islamic socialism and revolutionary reforms has to make its case in handwriting.
There are 62 Urdu daily newspapers in Pakistan against 12 printed in English. And the position of the Urdu publications has been strengthened by the Pakistan Government decision that Urdu should replace English as the official language.