The city-based age-old pen store, KV Ratnam and Sons Pen Works, has entered the India Books of Records.
It was launched by Kosuri Venkat Ratnam, a pioneer in India’s pen manufacturing business, in 1932 as a part of the Swadeshi Movement call given by Mahatma Gandhi.
Towering personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, former prime ministers Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi, former Presidents of India Babu Rajendra Prasad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, VV Giri, Zakir Hussain, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Maharajas of Jaipur, Mysore, Trivandrum, Vizianagaram, Dhar, Rewa and Bobbili, paper warrior Ramnath Goenka, The Hindu founder Nyapathi Subbarao Pantulu, Russian chiefs Bullanian and Khruschev, US president Ison Hover and German chancellors Arbbalnai and MS Thomson were among those who used Ratnam pens.
When KV Ratnam gifted a pen from his store to the Father of the Nation in 1932, the latter turned it down stating that the pen was manufactured with spare parts sold by Kolkata-based Gupta Company, which imported the parts from abroad. It may be mentioned here that Swadeshi Movement was the brainchild of Gandhiji so as to empower the Indian economy through self-sufficiency, thereby dethroning the British from power.
In 1933, All India Village Industries’ Association secretary JC Kumarappa visited the pen store out of enthusiasm since there was no pen manufacturing unit in India earlier. On the occasion, KV Ratnam gifted a pen to Kumarappa and another one to Gandhiji. In a letter to KV Ratnam in 1935, Gandhiji said the pen was an alternative to foreign pens and congratulated him for opening the company.
After the demise of KV Ratnam in 1981, his son Ramana Murthy took over the company and has been running it successfully. The price of an ordinary pen at the store ranges from `100 to `1,250, while the one with golden nib costs anywhere between `2,500 and `12,000. A pen with golden nib and silver cover costs `18,000 and the one made of 22 carat gold is priced at `1.5 lakh.
Ramana Murthy told Express that many great personalities in India and abroad are still using our pens and we do get orders frequently from the US, UK, Japan, Germany, Australia and other countries.
Meanwhile, the company produced the world’s smallest pen in connection with its platinum jubilee celebrations. It was released by former governor Narayan Dutt Tiwari on April 30, 2008 in Hyderabad, Murthy added.