Bamboo Pens

It is perhaps not known to many that Akhanda Bharat has the largest collection of paintings, literary texts, historical journals and scientific records in the world dating back to the Vedic Period. This treasure trove of our ancient culture, art, history and heritage was painstakingly documented using the humble wooden pen.


Since the ancient times, the wooden pen carved from reeds that grew on the banks of streams have been used by Rishis, saints, yogis and tapasvis to elucidate the wisdom and philosophy of our scriptures, to write commentaries on Advaita, to compose poetry, couplets and songs, to note down scientific data on the gamut of the universe and to reveal the secrets of the Chatushashti Kalas (64 arts of the universe) like medicine, metallurgy, dance and others.


The bamboo calligraphy pens in particular have been in use for more than 3,000 years. Traditionally preferred by artists and court stenographers, the bamboo pen used to be dipped in natural dyes and used on palm leaf and bark scrolls.


Today, different types of pens like roller, fountain and calligraphy are made by innovative groups and companies in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Sikkim, Assam and Tripura. Though the variety of bamboo varies from state to state, the method of production is the same. The reeds are thoroughly cleaned, scraped using a sharp-edged knife, smoothened using sandpaper, cut according to the length required, carved as per the design and given a final rub and polish.


As bamboo is an economically viable, versatile, durable and sustainable grass, these pens are an excellent option for offices and commercial establishments. These elegant pens are available in an array of colours, designs and finishes.


The current central government has done an outstanding job of first amending the problematic 90-year-old law that had categorized bamboo as tree to grass and undertaking several ambitious projects to increase bamboo cultivation on riversides, roadsides and fallow lands, create, design and market value-added products of bamboo and provide steady employment to the rural sector.


This landmark decision has provided the much-needed impetus to the bamboo industry and one hopes that more companies will come out with creative bamboo products to completely replace plastic.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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