Yusuf Mansoor gets the 1st Inked Happiness Lifetime Achievement Award
The 1st Inked Happiness Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on the veteran fountain pen collector, restorer and pen historian Yusuf Mansoor. The Award was handed over to him by Jayanta Bagchi of PM Bagchi and Kaushik Moitra of Sulekha Inks along with Suvobrata Ganguly the writer of Inked Happiness.
Yusuf Mansoor, delivering the keynote address, talked about the passion of Fountain Pen collecting and stressed on the twin needs – of freeing the hobby from its elitist tag and spreading the habit of writing with the fountain pen among the children of tomorrow. Incidentally, as a part of the effort, Yusuf Mansoor had, earlier in the day, given twenty-five fountain pens to select students of the Bhawanipur Education Society College who took the vow to discard their disposable ball point pens to start writing with fountain pens.
It will not be out of place to mention here that Yusuf Mansoor comes from a family that had given undivided Bihar its first Prime Minister. He is a marine geologist by profession, someone who gave up his very lucrative assignments overseas to come back to India to follow his passion for the pen. A pen historian, collector and restorer, he has more than fifteen thousand pens in his collection and is relentlessly working for the last three decades to spread the habit of writing with the fountain pen apart from compiling the history of pen making in India.
Rev Father Dr S. Xavier, SJ of St Xavier’s College, Kolkata and Prof Dilip Shah, Dean of Bhawanipur Education Society College were present on the occasion.
Rev. Father Dr (Prof) S. Xavier, SJ did is Doctoral on the arsenic problem in Calcutta and is one of the foremost experts on sustainability in these parts of the world. Apart from being the heart and soul of the St Xavier’s College, he is also closely associated with the University of Santa Clara in the USA. Father Xavier is a globally acknowledged crusader for the environment and his achievements are too numerous to be listed here. It was an honour and a pleasure that despite his busy schedule, he was personally present to bless the initiative of the fountain pen community.
Prof Dilip Shah is the Dean of the Bhawanipur Education Society College. Prof Shah, one of the most sought-after corporate consultants, gave it all up to take up a life in the academic world. That Bhawanipur Education Society College a turn-around story that folklore are made of, is testimony of his success. But his real success lies elsewhere – he has turned college education in its head introducing in the BESC what he calls the “Career Connect” programme, where students are empowered as opposed to taught, skilled for the world, as opposed to merely given lessons.
Kaushik Moitra, the Managing Director of Sulekha Inks, talked about the plans of repackaging the legacy ink for meeting the emerging demand from the new users. Sulekha, after a two-decade hiatus is making a comeback, to claim its rightful place in the heart.
Kaushik Moitra is an Engineer by profession who has returned from his high-profile job in the West to revive a brand that was named by Rabindra Nath Tagore and had come into existence in response to Gandhiji’s clarion call for the “Swadeshi”. The brand was once so well-known that the United Nations had sought its help to set up factories in Africa, a wish, it had the rare honour of accomplishing.
Jayanta Bagchi owner of renowned Bengali enterprise P M Bagchi; veteran collectors Apurba Kumar Panda and Sovan Roy spoke on the occasion, about their collections and the need to spread the habit of writing among the younger generations.
A website, www.penloverskolkata.com was gifted to the lovers of fountain pens, inks and accessories in Kolkata by www.inkedhappiness.com. This website it is hoped, will be used by the lovers and collector community of the city to take their passion forward. The website was handed over to Yusuf Mansoor by Prof Dilip Shah.
Prof K C Janardhan, the Maestro, is India’s most celebrated calligrapher had to cancel his plans at the last moment and a recording of the letter he has written in his own hand was played to the gathering. Prof Janardhan teaches, among others, the Britishers the art of writing in English. He is also the only man to have taken Calligraphy classes on air, on land (in a bus and in a train) and is giving final touches to classes that will be held on water. He has established the world’s only-one-of-its-kind museum on handwriting, calligraphy and writing instruments in Bangalore.
Suvobrata Ganguly highlighted the need to adopt the fountain pen as a sustainable option, spelling out the menace posed to the environment by the mindless use of ball point pens which add to the toxic waste that is leading us on the path of environmental degradation, climate change and global warming. He also called on august gathering to pool in their talents to highlight the advantages of the fountain pen not only as a green option, but also as a potent tool, a catharsis from digital damnation, as a means to digital detoxification.
Chandranath Chatterjee, celebrated author and collector of memorabilia related to Kolkata conducted the programme.