Endorsed by Gandhi, Titled by Tagore: The Story of Sulekha Ink from Kolkata

The Swadeshi Movement of 1905 marked the genesis of a remarkable enterprise in Kolkata, birthing an indigenous ink symbolising self-reliance. Endorsed by Gandhi’s blessing and christened by Tagore’s poetic finesse, this humble ink became a stalwart of nationalistic fervor and literary heritage

Endorsed by Gandhi, Titled by Tagore: The Story of Sulekha Ink from Kolkata

Friday October 20, 2023,

2 min Read

In the backdrop of India's quest for independence, the story of Sulekha Ink stands as a symbol of local pride and resistance against foreign dominance.

Origins in Rebellion

During the Swadeshi Movement in the early 20th century, Indians were urged to support local products over foreign ones. It was during this period that Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India's freedom struggle, felt the irony of writing anti-colonial messages using foreign ink. To address this, Gandhi, along with freedom fighters like Satish Chandra Das Gupta and the Maitra brothers, initiated the production of Sulekha Ink in Kolkata, turning it into a symbol of defiance.

The Poetic Touch

The renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore is believed to have named this ink "Sulekha", a name that mirrored the quality and pride of India. With its roots in Bengali for "good writing", the name became emblematic of Indian self-reliance.

Rise, Fall, and Resurgence

From the 1960s to the '80s, Sulekha Ink enjoyed its golden era, receiving endorsements from luminaries like Gandhi and filmmaker Satyajit Ray. However, by 1989, the company faced closure. Yet, in a twist, the brand witnessed a revival in 2020, thanks to enthusiasts on a digital platform, reigniting its legacy and connection to India's self-reliance movement.

More Than Just an Ink

Sulekha Ink's legacy transcends business. It's a testament to a time when national pride and literary elegance came together. Each stroke of Sulekha Ink not only inked words but also India's dreams of freedom and defiance against colonial rule.

In summary, the tale of Sulekha Ink is not just about a product. It captures the essence of India's journey towards self-determination, serving as a beacon of the country's spirit of Swadeshi.