Sulekha Swadeshi Ink, christened by Rabindranath Tagore and ideated by Mahatma Gandhi, epitomises the ink quality and the Indian unity against the British Raj.
With the advent of emails, laptops, and Apple pencils, GenX might not understand the joys of ink-stained fingers, blotched clothes, or the process of cleaning out ink pens.
At the height of the Swadeshi movement in the 1930s, Mahatma Gandhi looked for locally made ink for writing letters and petitions.
Nanigopal and Sankaracharya, popularly known as the Maitra brothers, had recently been released from prison and jumped at the chance to defy the British once more.
When the duo's parents learned of their venture & vision of Independent India, they poured their savings into the research & dev of Sulekha.
As their mother & spouses took over the production, the duo shifted their focus to marketing & door-to-door selling.
Gandhi's picture on the bottle helped people associate Sulekha with the freedom movement. Sulekha attracted buyers ranging from students to revolutionary leaders.
By the 1950s, Sulekha was selling more ink pens in India than all the other makers combined!
Sulekha expanded rapidly over the next 4 decades, with factories opening in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
In 1988, Sulekha shut down due to disruptive trade unions in Bengal.
However, ink production did not come to a total halt - it was produced in a minimal volume.
In Nov 2020, under the light of Made in India, the sentiments for this homegrown brand flared up.
Nanigopal's grandson, Kaushik, revived Sulekha & used the history-modern connection to re-enter the market.
The relaunch of Sulekha in its famous Khadi pouch drew a fantastic response, with orders flooding in from Greece, the UK, Australia, Bangladesh, the US, and, of course, India.
In today's times, when ink pens are mainly used for calligraphy and as a therapeutic hobby, Sulekha fights to ensure that handwritten letters with an ink pen don't just become a thing of the past.
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