Famous men and their Fountain pens
Shri Pranab Mukherjee assumed office as the 13th President of India on July 25, 2012, crowning a political career of over five decades of exemplary service to the nation in Government as well as Parliament.
Shri Mukherjee is a man of unparalleled experience in governance with the rare distinction of having served at different times as Foreign, Defence, Commerce and Finance Minister. He was elected to the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) five times from 1969 and twice to the Lower House of the Parliament (Lok Sabha) from 2004. He was a member of the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy making body of the Party for a period of 23 years.
A powerful orator and scholar, Shri Mukherjee’s intellectual and political prowess as well as remarkable knowledge of international relations, financial affairs and parliamentary process are widely admired. He has been acclaimed for his role as a consensus builder on difficult national issues through his ability to forge unity amongst the diverse political parties that form part of India’s vibrant multi-party democracy.
A man of humble origins, Shri Mukherjee was born in the small village of Mirati in Birbhum District of West Bengal as son of freedom fighters, Shri Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Rajlakshmi on December 11, 1935. Shri Mukherjee’s father was a Congress leader who endured great hardship including being sent to jail several times for his role in India’s struggle for independence.
Shri Mukherjee acquired a master’s degree in History and Political Science as well as a degree in Law from the University of Kolkata. He then embarked on his professional life as a college teacher and journalist. Inspired by his father’s contribution to the national movement, Shri Mukherjee in 1969 plunged into full time public life following his election to the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha).
A prolific reader, Shri Mukherjee has authored several books on the Indian Economy and on Nation Building. The many awards and honours conferred on him include India’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhusan in 2008, the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997 and Best Administrator in India Award in 2011. He is recipient of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa conferred by the University of Dhaka in 2013; and Honoris Causa conferred by the University of Calcutta in 2014. ; Honorary Doctorate conferred by the Russian Diplomatic Academy in 2015; and Professor Honoris Causa conferred by the Belarus State University in 2015.Honorary Doctorate conferred by the University of Jordan in 2015; Honorary Doctorate conferred by Al-Quds University, Palestine in 2015; and Honorary Doctorate conferred by Hebrew University, Israel in 2015 and Honorary Doctorate conferred by the Kathmandu University, Nepal in 2016.He was rated one of the best five Finance Ministers of the world in 1984 according to a survey conducted by “Euro Money” Journal published from New York and was declared ‘Finance Minister of the year’ for Asia in 2010 by “Emerging Markets”, the journal of record for the World Bank and the IMF.
Shri Mukherjee enjoys reading, gardening and music in his spare time. Simple in his tastes, Shri Mukherjee is a dedicated patron of the arts and culture. An avid traveller, there are few parts of India and few countries in the world he has not visited in his illustrious and long public career.
We are honoured to present to you a rare glimpse into writing habits and his love for writing with a fountain pen. Excerpts:
Q. Why do you prefer using a fountain pen?
I preferred writing with fountain pen and it was convenient. I started writing by a fountain pen from 1946 and I am still continuing with the habit.
Q. What pen do normally use to write?
Earlier I used to write with Sheaffers and Parkers. Now I am writing with Mont Blanc.
Q Can you share any memories from your childhood and youth that relate to fountain pens?
Q. Do you like the way the fountain pen is slowly sinking into oblivion as we embrace the digital forms with a vengeance and contributing to the killing of the written word?
Fountain pens came to replace other modes of writing, as this was technologically superior. Similarly, other modes of writing emerged to replace the existing technology, in the process phasing it out. We need not regret because technology is always disruptive and it makes changes faster than we can adjust or like. However, I also believe that two different technologies meant to achieve the same end, can definitely coexist.