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Home / India / He gave the city its first printing press

He gave the city its first printing press

Munshi Naval Kishore is a name that most of Lucknowites are familiar with. But familiarity stops at the name and with the road named after him for most people in the city. Though the man, who gave Lucknow its first printing press, is worth knowing.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006, 00:26 IST
Surya Agarwal
Surya Agarwal
None

Munshi Naval Kishore is a name that most of Lucknowites are familiar with. But familiarity stops at the name and with the road named after him for most people in the city. Though the man, who gave Lucknow its first printing press, is worth knowing.

Just enter a room and it will transport you to the time when Munshi Naval Kishore used to print newspapers and books. Amir-ud-Daula Library has dedicated a room to late Munshi Naval Kishore and named it after him. The room will interest any printer, publisher, technology buff, bookworm, scholar, antique collector and even a fashion designer or fashion enthusiast!

Munshi Naval Kishore used to print newspapers and books with stone blocks. Owner of the first printing press in Lucknow, Naval Kishore Press, he established the press in 1858 right after the First War of Independence-1857. The press published important newspapers like ‘Oudh Akhbar’ in Urdu, ‘Times’ in English and ‘Oudh Review’ in Urdu.

The ‘Naval Kishore Kaksh’ was inaugurated on February 25 in the library premises. A visitor can see all these newspapers neatly arranged in the small museum.

Amir-ud-Daula Library has acquired some of Naval Kishore’s clothes, books and old papers. One of the atypical attires of Naval Kishore exhibited here is Chinese attire that was gifted to him by a Chinese friend. Along with it are displayed there are newspapers that were published in 1932.

Along with this they have got the Tredil Machine, printings blocks, picture blocks and bronze and steel plates and camera that the press used way back in the early 19th Century. The tredil printing machine dates back to 1880.

Other antiquities like ‘paandaan’ (a container to store paan), room heater, utensils, fan and a peculiar walking stick that once belonged to him, have also been attained by the library.  The peculiarity of the walking stick lies in the fact that the walking stick doubles up as a concealed measuring scale ‘hidden’ in it, that he used in the press, to measure length or breadth of pages or other material related to books and papers.

The clothes (intricately embroidered, colourful pagdi, cloth fan et al) tells a lot about the lifestyle and fashion consciousness.

The librarian Nusrat Naheed tells, “We have acquired these objects from Rani Ram Kumar Bhargava. We approached her and asked her for these objects so that we could display them in the library.”

Rani Ram Kumar Bhargava says, “The reason why we donated the belongings of Naval Kishore is that we wanted his belonging to be preserved as they are of national significance.”

There are around eleven bookshelves in the room that contain Naval Kishore’s books. The books are in various languages like Urdu, Persian, Hindi, Sanskrit and Arabic.

The room has already started attracting some people, especially, students and the library members.

One can easily say that the city now has a museum—a museum about one person.

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