Book Review: Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy

Ink, ink pens, and India – the history!


Book Title: Inked in India: Fountain Pens and a Story of Make and Unmake

Author: Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy

Format: Hardcover

Published By: Rupa Publications India     

No. of pages: 200           

Genre: Non-fiction (Informational)

Book Review:

Evolution theory poses many questions for rational minds across the globe. Little things like who invented the wheel, carts, machines, the computer, and other devices and how fire, hunger, continents, and other things were discovered always linger in the minds. Many studies, theses, documented proofs, and facts have always reigned the world to understand the theory of evolution. The theory not only deals with humans, animals, flora, and fauna but also the basic sense of communication.

Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy
Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy

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Communication is a great place in anyone’s life, whether humans, animals, birds, or even plants! The medium differs, but the concept of communication differs. In this connection, drawing and sketching were initially the modes of communication among early humans. 

According to internet sources, ‘The oldest-known forms of writing were primarily logographic in nature, based on pictographic and ideographic elements. Most writing systems can be broadly divided into three categories: logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic (or segmental); however, all three may be found in any given writing system in varying proportions, often making it difficult to categorize a system uniquely.

The invention of the first writing systems is roughly contemporary with the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic of the late 5th millennium BC.’ Without much digressing and getting lost in the history of writing, in the book – Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy, a beautiful sentence – As is only to be expected, ink is older than pens, not to speak of fountain pens, caught my attention. Thus, I read the book with much interest and enthusiasm.

The book, Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy is divided into seven chapters, and each chapter has wonderful information. The amount of research the authors have done will reflect on every page and stage. The first chapter introduces the readers to the 2003’s National Mission for manuscripts, which is further explained, and links for reference are mentioned in the book’s footnotes.

The chapter explains how and when the ink was made, the many ways it was used, and such fascinating things along with quills and other ways of writing. The second chapter dates back to India in the 1920s, and the usage of ink, pens, and letters that mark historical events is discussed here. The very exhilarating history of the Indian fountain ink pen is talked about in detail in this chapter.

In the further chapters, Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy gives extremely interesting details of the history of the fountain pen in India that is linked with India’s freedom. The book is written in an easy language with an apt vocabulary. The font and the page setting with the necessary footnotes make the book more readable. This is a must-read book and is recommended to every reader!

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