Collectors, Friends, Romans, lend me your ears – Maestro Prof K C Janardhan

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Death. Depression. Devastation. These are indeed difficult times. And I must commend the Inked Happiness for having not only broached the topic of depression, but for having, so eloquently at that, focussed on the light at the end of the tunnel. Let us accept that the first step towards victory is acknowledging the contentious issues at hand – being in denial leads us nowhere.

This particular piece has also got me deeply thinking and though I know what I am going to talk about here may not be politically correct, can be construed as callous avarice even, still, I feel that I must initiate a conversation among like minded individuals, lovers of fountain pens. My apologies for hurting sentiments, if at all, upfront.

Friends, let us face it. These are extremely trying times and most of us are more vulnerable than the average man on the street because of our advancing age, co-morbidities and a host of other reasons. There is hardly any one of us here who has not lost a near and a dear one in the last couple of months and it is with a very heavy heart that I recall some close friends and collectors:  fountain pen and ink lovers all, who have left us for their heavenly abodes.

The obvious question, however crude it may sound, is what has happened to their painfully put together collections? Will their collections, which they had loved more than themselves, get the same tender loving care in the future? Will those, who inherit these collections, often priceless in terms of the sentiments that are attached, hold them in the same reverence with which they were put together? Will these collectibles, which represent our legacy, get the care that they deserve?

Some of them certainly will. But most will be locked away and some, I shudder as I say this, will be sold away to “raddiwalas” (junk dealers) and with that, many important parts of our history will perhaps be lost forever. And with them will be obliterated the love and passion of the collectors who have often spent lifetimes putting them together. Is there no way out then? There is…

(right to left) HE Lorenzo Angeloni Italian Ambassador, Maestro K C Janardhan & Shri D H Shankaramurthy Chairman Karnataka Legislative Council Cutting the ribbon to inaugurate J’s La Quill Museum.

The J’s La Quill Museum of Handwriting, Lettering, Calligraphy, Fountain Pens & other writing instruments which I have built painstakingly over the last many decades. You can bequeath your collections to the Museum – which is run by an independent trust and will therefore outlast me. That is to say two things: one, I am mortal, the museum is not and two, I may have created the museum but I do not own it – its artefacts are its own and will therefore live on, to perpetuity as will the memory of the collectors who had originally owned them. Prof Yashwant D. Pitkar and Yusuf Mansoor for example: collectors, who need no introduction have already contributed from their collections to the Museum and we are honoured to exhibit them with full acknowledgement. Similarly, Prof K N Iengar Professor of Architecture has bequeathed a priceless collection of Italic Society Journals from the year 1954 to 2000 and Lindner & Co has bestowed 14 boxes of assorted nibs which were imported in the early 1900’s. Bharath Mehta of Barton & Sons has also contributed books and Pelikan inks to the museum.

Yusuf Mansoor donating to the Museum
Prof Y D Pitkar contributing from his collection to the Museum

It is my ardent request to all collectors, and their families to get in touch with us so that we may have the pleasure of acting as custodians to your treasures for all time – so that future generations can remember the peerless collectors and pay their respects to their passions.

It will not be out of place to point out that Sreenath Vishnu has created a special corner of Rytol Pens along with other fountain pens from his collection and Harsh Gagwani of Click pens is in the process of setting up a Fountain Pen Education Corner in the Museum to ensure that their brands get the kind of immortality that they deserve. May I also take this opportunity to request pen, ink and accessory manufacturers, in earnest humility, that you kindly showcase your products, especially the timeline of your creative outpouring for students and lovers alike.

British MP Virendra Sharma at the Museum

I have another service that I feel, that we “elders” in the fountain pen community should come together to offer to the fraternity of collectors. However painful it may be, we realise that at times collectors (and in their absence, their families) are forced to liquidate their holdings. Such “distress sales” naturally attract the vultures and not only are the genuine sellers short charged, the buyers from among us who end up buying the same items from the middlemen are also forced to pay unnaturally high prices. To overcome this, may I suggest that such sales are conducted by the museum?

Sreenath Vishnu, Maestro K C Janardhan & Dominic Mc Allister with the RYTOL Cosmic Series Pens

I am suggesting that we invite the experts and collectors from among the community to evaluate the collections / items that are put up for adoption (the term sale, in the context, feels crassly commercial); set floor prices and hold auctions so that the proceeds, minus the actual expenses, can go directly to the beneficiaries. It will be a win-win for all – the price realisation will be genuine, middlemen will be eliminated and the artefacts will remain in safe, loving hands of fellow collectors. Their provenance will also be certified. And what is more, even if the actual auction is not conducted, the valuation by the connoisseurs will ensure transparency, leading to the establishment of floor prices.

Think about what I have to say my friends. Think and please feel free to add your valuable comments and suggestions. What I have narrated here is only the kernel, the gist of my thoughts. With your active participation I am sure that we can take this to its fruition.

H E Lorenzo Angeloni, Italian Ambassador keenly looking at the display in J’s la Quill Museum

For more information:

Note: J’s La Quill Museum is run by a Trust, purely on a Not-for-Profit premise. I have only a fiduciary relationship and me or my family in no way stand to gain commercially from the activities of the Museum.


21 Replies to “Collectors, Friends, Romans, lend me your ears – Maestro Prof K C Janardhan”

  1. Mr. Janardhan,
    #GoodWishes for your creative initiations to save many important parts of our history which represent our legacy, love, and often priceless !!!
    Atul Koirala

    1. Dear Atul,
      Thank you for your encouraging words for the Museum and I know we are together as you are on the way to bring in many contributions to our Museum celebrating the Blue Pen of your uncle Sushil Koirala and our INDO NEPAL connection.
      Warm regards,

  2. pen museum first of its kind in the world in bengaluru …has been inaugurated by our former chairman of council n various british mp n others itself reflects the power of pen .n it’s spectrum is showcased well….v have support all his initiative to make bengaluru proud…not only that Janardhan sir is first teacher in the world to teach the authentic way of handwritting ….

    1. Dear Gnanashakher,
      Thank you for appealing for support for the Museum. I am sure you are going to be Instrumental in bringing in many powerful personalities of Karnataka to visit and support our Museum.
      With Warm Regards,

  3. Sir, Hats off to your dedication to preserve the art….. Collection of the best can be seen under one roof….

    1. Dear Mr.Prasad,
      Yes. All those unforgettable moments of many passionate collectors will be stored in the museum to exude the positivity of powerful nostalgic emotions!
      With Warm regards,

  4. Janardhan,
    Congratulations on the official inauguration of J’s La Quill Museum, which may wife, Sarita, brother-in-law and I hand the pleasure of having a preview a few weeks back. Left the place, feeling blessed!
    Kudos to you for your efforts and commitment. Wishing you and your foundation all the best!💐🎉

    1. Dear Venkat,
      You have been a part of this journey for over two and a half decades and I am happy that you visited the Museum recently, your encouragement and support is felt through your excellent remarks in the visitors book which would stimulate every reader to think differently about the Museum.
      With Warm regards,

  5. I’m happy to know about your initiative in creating a unique museum and the collectibles reaches the genuine and ardent collectors with an affordable price. It’s really a win-win for all. Wishing you all the best in your innovative moves in preserving a tradition.

    Mr Purushottam
    Ex Reserve Bank of India

  6. Hello KCJ, it was a great pleasure reading the article, and most importantly saving a part of our history by making a dedicated museum of writing instruments. Today in the age of internet and more so in the present situation of lockdown, the generation will forget to write on a piece of paper, unless attempts are made to show it’s importance and least preserve it for longevity. Fountain Pens, like books, are still being manufactured, but the takers are less.
    There are Pen clubs, individual like Chawm sir and Yusuf sir trying their best to promote the use of ink and paper, which is a good initiative.
    Attempts by you at personal level are simply praiseworthy, more so by making a museum in your own house, and it was great meeting you in person few years ago, and looking forward for the same soon.

    1. Dear Prof Y D Pitkar,
      Words coming from a passionate collector like you are worth more than its weight in gold and diamonds, as you are the travelling ink pot creator who educated so many architects and the general public about writing, fountain pens and inks.
      My museum still treasures the priceless pens and pencils donated by you to the museum. Kudos to you,
      With Warm Regards,

  7. Sir, it’s a wonderful initiative. The thoughts expressed by you are important, and beneficial, to the fountain pen community. My best wishes.

    1. Dear Mr.Makam,
      Thank you for your understanding of our initiatives and your good wishes, We are sure that with the support of like minded people of your tribe, we can achieve our objectives for the betterment of the fraternity.
      With Kind Regards,

  8. Sir,
    You are truly a very passionate collector!! Love each and every corner of your museum!!
    I am very much fortunate person, who visited the museum and lucky too..
    All my heartiest wishes..
    Always with you..

  9. Mr. KCJ,

    I would like to appreciate your passion, hard work, time and dedication towards building a writing instrument museum which is unique and a very interesting one for the future generation. It’s my bad that till now I was not able to visit at least once … but sure will make it in coming days if everything is ok.

    Wishing you all the best for the future collections, Take care sir.

    Thank you

    Suresh Waghmore

    1. Dear Mr. Waghmore,
      Looking forward to your visit. Thank you for your kind words and I am sure you will spread the word among the fraternity for supporting our cause.
      With Regards,

  10. Dear Debjani,
    I am happy that you took the initiative to travel from Kolkata to visit my Museum and spent enough time with us.
    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.
    With warm regards,

  11. This is the message from the Lindner & Co., owners family:
    Fabulous Work. And Thanks for including our ancestral achievement too. All the Best Wishes !!
    All my family member’s Appreciated and conveyed their Greetings & Best Wishes to you. 👍

  12. The concept calligraphy museum is different.. really this is proud of Bangalore. Wish you all the best Mr J.


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