Learning How to Print in Colonial North India: The Nizami Press in Budaun and the First Urdu Manual on the Art of Lithography

Gianni Sievers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article centers on an Urdu-language manual on lithography, published in 1924 by the Nizami Press in Budaun (United Provinces), to explore how a Muslim printer-publisher in a North Indian qasbah tried to reform educational methods in his trade. It introduces the Nizami Press (est. 1905) and compares the manual with similar European and Indian instructional handbooks. How did Indian printers and publishers learn their craft? What were the tools and materials used for lithographic printing in colonial India? And given the popularity of lithography, why were such manuals rarely published in Indian languages? By examining the material and technical aspects of the lithographic printing process explained in the Urdu manual, this article engages with larger scholarly debates revolving around knowledge production, pedagogy, and technological developments in South Asia. Furthermore, it analyzes the manual's language to demonstrate how printers and publishers were engaged in discourses about nationalism, modernization, and social reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-109
Number of pages37
JournalPhilological Encounters
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Print culture
  • Urdu
  • colonial modernity
  • knowledge transmission
  • lithography
  • qasbah

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