Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
Typewriters still thrive in modernising India
Mumbai (AFP) Feb 23, 2011
Purushottan H. Sakhare perches on a wall by a Mumbai pavement, slips a sheet of green paper behind the roller of his battered typewriter and winds it into position with two deft flicks of the wrist.
After pulling the carriage release lever towards himself, he punches the worn, black keys, the swift and precise movements of his fingers sending the slender metal typebars slamming into the black ink ribbon.
Soon, the form he's typing is ready to be authenticated with a wax seal and rubber stamp by one of the dozens of notaries waiting for passing trade under the colonnade entrance of the Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrates Court over the road.
"A typewriter is perfect for this kind of work," said the 46-year-old, looking up from the ageing Underwood model on a makeshift desk in front of him.
"It's fast and immediate."
More than a dozen unofficial petition writers like Sakhare can be found hunched over portable typewriters on the same busy pavement, the sound of their work drowned out by the noisy traffic of India's financial hub.
Inside the court precincts, a similar number of workers can be found under a flimsy, corrugated iron lean-to, typing affidavits, family title deeds and court applications for 10 rupees (22 US cents) per page.
Typewriters have largely been consigned to history in many countries and might be expected to have also been sent for scrap in Mumbai, where India does business with the world and the latest technology drives the country's economic boom.
But the unmistakeable clatter of typewriter keys and ping of margin bells can still be heard, echoing down the vaulted corridors of the courts and lawyers' chambers to police stations and government offices across the city.
Santosh Pratap Sangtani, from the Bombay Typewriter Company, is thankful that the sturdy machines that were a feature of business from the late 19th century through most of the following 100 years have not yet become museum pieces.
India once manufactured around 150,000 typewriters every year but five years ago he was unsure whether there would still be a demand for his services, as typewriter factories closed and the take-up of information technology increased.
"A lot of the resurgence has to do with the government," he said in his dusty first floor workshop above a busy side-street near the city's main railway station and post office.
"They have said that if you want a government job, you have to first learn how to type on a typewriter and produce a course certificate. Only then can you move on to a computer. Typing institutes that closed have now reopened."
With new typewriters unavailable, the Bombay Typewriter Company and others like it now make money by selling reconditioned machines for up to 6,000 rupees (over $130) each.
Work on the hulks of Woodstock, Remington, Godrej and Facit models usually involves metal bashing and oiling or replacing the English, Hindi and Marathi keys, typebars, levers and rollers with specially-made parts.
Like the court typist Sakhare, Sangtani believes the machines still have a place in modern India, despite a push to increase the use of computers and digitise the slow-moving state sector, where form-filling by hand is still largely the norm.
"Nowadays people who use computers use only a single finger. Ten minutes' work takes half an hour. When you learn to touch-type on a typewriter, you use all your fingers and it's quicker," he said.
Users, many of them older and with an emotional attachment to their machines, also vouch for their preference for typewriters over new-fangled computers because of their low maintenance costs and simplicity.
"If you're doing work on a computer and I'm doing work on a typewriter, I will get it done first," boasted one court writer.
The machines are also an ideal tool in a country where some 400 million people lack regular electricity and where power cuts can be daily occurrences where it is available.
Nevertheless, Mumbai's professional typists and repairers are realistic. The cost of computers is falling and more Indians are getting online, including through their mobile phones.
"I think the situation will last for another four to five years," said Sangtani. "After that, who knows?"
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
Washington (AFP) Feb 21, 2011
News Corp. announced Monday it has agreed to buy Shine Group, a television production company owned by News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth, for Pounds 415 million ($672 million). News Corp. said Elisabeth Murdoch, 42, the chairman and chief executive of London-based Shine Group, will join the News Corp. board of directors upon the completion of the transaction. "Shin ... read more
Turning To Nature For Inspiration|
HP stock slides on trimmed earnings forecast
Typewriters still thrive in modernising India
Xoom tablet debuts Feb. 24 with $800 price
Boeing To Demonstrate High-Technology, Low-Risk Solutions At AFA Air Warfare Symposium
USAF Selects Northrop Grumman To Research SOA IT For Integrated Air And Space Command And Control
Boeing Tests New Ka-band SATCOM Antenna System
Raytheon to supply radios to Aussie army
SpaceX to focus on astronaut capsule
ILS Appoints Vice President Of Sales Marketing And Communications
Ariane 5's Mission With The Automated Transfer Vehicle Is Postponed
Ariane 5 Ready For Launch Of Automated Transfer Vehicle Johannes Kepler
EU issues urgent call to 21 states on satellite network
Lockheed Martin-Built GPS Satellite Exceeds 10 Years On-Orbit
Russia To Launch Glonass Satellite Feb 24
SkyTraq Introduces Low-Power High-Performance GLONASS/GPS Receiver
EU states can fine airlines for excessive noise: court
800 million more air travellers by 2014: IATA
Boeing Submits Final NewGen Tanker Proposal To US Air Force
India closes in on fighter aircraft deal
Manipulating Molecules For A New Breed Of Electronics
Physicists Isolate Bound States In Graphene Superconductor Junctions
Intel to invest $5 billion in new Arizona plant
DuPont Microcircuit Materials Expands Printed Electronics Research with Holst Centre Collaboration
Europe to forge ahead on climate satellite
Ground-Based Lasers Vie With Satellites To Map Earth's Magnetic Field
Monitoring Killer Mice From Space
UK Celebrates A Decade Of Disaster Monitoring From Space
Beijing air pollution off the charts, US says
The Red Mud Accident In Ajka And Potential Health Effects Of Fugitive Dust
China adopts heavy metal reduction plan
Workers pay high price at Bangladesh export tanneries
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|