Murali Ranganathan to talk about print history at Mumbai Local

On 18 May (Friday) print historian ​and researcher Murali Ranganathan will talk about Entertaining Mumbai in the 19th Century at 5:30 pm. The venue for the​ ​90 minute talk​ ​+ Q&A session is the bookstore Kitab Khana in Fort, Mumbai.

10 May 2018 | By Priya Raju

Sanjna Kapoor and Sameera Iyengar of Junoon said, "Junoon is delighted to invite Murali Ranganathan to Mumbai Local. With him, we will get to see how print culture in Mumbai was intimately linked to the modernisation of theatre, and to the creation of the idea of mass entertainment. Piecing together history from newspapers, we will see how a Vishnudas Bhave comes to Bombay and creates a theatre demand, how a maverick balloonist drives mass entertainment and voyeurism, and how practices like yoga catch the modern imagination."

The event has been curated by Ramu Ramanathan, editor of PrintWeek India.

Junoon who is hosting the event, have stated in their official press release that "On a daily basis, newspapers bring us news of happenings around the world. As an archivethey contain fascinating remnants of the past - those stories that a certain time thought were worthy of being highlighted as news. Piecing those stories together recreates the preoccupations of a time - what was new for people, what they thought was exciting, how they related to things, and how all of this formed the conditions in which are present has been created."

"I excavate libraries and archives," said Murali Ranganathan. Excavate - because that is the action needed to get information out of most of these spaces in India. Excavate - like archaeologists - because it also holds the promise of unexpected discovery that will throw a flashlight into some aspect of our past, offers a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that promises a tantalising picture, and hence send the seeker off on an obsessive search for the rest of the pieces.

It promises to be a fascinating romp through print that opens windows into a 19th century Mumbai which is rapidly modernising and reconstructing itself.

In the pages of PrintWeek India, Murali Ranganathan has studied how print came to Bombay in 1674 at the initiative of an Indian businessman. A hundred years later, the city had its commercial printing presses. The proliferation of print, however, started in the 19th century, with indigenously developed typefaces for Indian languages, from the 1790s, giving it a major fillip. The advent of lithography in the 1820s also helped. By the middle of the century, there were nearly 50 printing presses in Bombay, many of them owned by Indians.

Murali Ranganathan has been exploring this fascinating aspect of Bombay’s history. 

A must attend for PrintWeek India readers.