A while back I posted about what was said to be the world’s last handwritten newspaper (in Chennai/Madras). I am happy to report that this does not seem to be the case; this post at Iqag Notes says:

This is just flat-out wrong. The vast majority of “printed” Urdu works are hand written. That includes books, newspapers, magazines, posters, and so on. It’s true that there is at the moment an incredibly fast pace of change towards computerization amongst the major newspapers, and a slower pace for books, but this has been only over the last five years. In fact, one of the only things which are almost always computer composed are wedding invitations, because it’s cost effective for these small batches, and because the consumer bears the higher labor costs of DTP vs. caligraphy. If that sound backwards, think about this: hand copying of manuscripts at the Salar Jung library is cheaper per page than photocopies from those archives which will let you copy (which SJ won’t.)

There’s much more, including a history of Urdu typesetting. Thanks to Bill Poser of Language Log for linking to it.


  1. Nothing about Thomas Milo? Here’s a recent reference to him:
    Arabic calligraphy: Written by hand or type set on the computer.
    His own site now has a nice manuscript picture including some Nastaʿliq on the homepage but no links.

  2. Scott Carney just published a feature on it in Wired on it as well (perpetuating the “last handwritten newspaper” myth, oh well).
    Nice slideshow, though. I had the feeling he was hoarding more photos.

  3. Taken up over at Chapati Mystery, where Scott Carney shows up in the comments to try to clarify.

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