Pen with swadeshi writ

AHMEDABAD: Many of us may not have heard of `Swadeshi Ratnamson', India's iconic antiimperialist brand and the fountainhead of inspiration for Indian-made fountain pens.These very same ebonite (hardened vulcanized rubber) pens will be available at the Sabarmati Ashram in the coming weeks in its original 'zen-like simplicity'.

In 1921, while on a brief visit to Wardha from Ahmedabad, Mahatma Gandhi met Kosuri Venkat Ratnam, a jeweller from Rajahmundry town in Andhra Pradesh, and advised him to make a utilitarian instrument, like a pen, which could be used by all Indians. Ratnam went back to his Fort Gate Street workshop and sought help for the project from Chennai-based importers G Sampath Chetty; and A Ramamurti, the founder of Andhra Scientific Company.

By 1933, Ratnam managed to produce the pen.

"It took my father two years to convince Gandhiji that the pen was indeed fully swadeshi as most pens were imported," smiles K V Ramanamurthy .

"Bapu did not use it at first as the nib seemed like an im ported product."