Legacy of Printing Copies of Qur’an: Pakistani Influence on Indian Market

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Traditional calligraphy and printing techniques thrive in the production of copies of the Qur’an in Delhi.

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — In the intricacies of printing copies of the Noble Qur’an, a rich across-the-border history intertwines India and Pakistan, shaping the literary landscape for generations. The Taj Company Karachi, with its distinguished volumes of the Qur’an, leaves an indelible mark on Muslim households in both nations, particularly in India where its influence remains profound.

Mohammad Shafiq Siddiqui, proprietor of Iranian Art Printers in Delhi, reminisces about a time when copies of the Qur’an printed in Pakistan were not just imported, but reproduced within India’s printing houses. “When India and Pakistan were partitioned, most calligraphers migrated to Pakistan. However, one remained, and Delhi’s printing houses became instrumental in producing copies of the Qur’an,” he said.

Despite the absence of formal authorisation, the replication of Qur’anic texts from Pakistan continued unabated. “Even today, 80% of the Qur’an copies sold in India are copies of the Taj Company,” Siddiqui said.

Delving into the nuances of the production of Qur’an copies, Siddiqui elucidates the meticulous process involved, “We print 25,000 or 30,000 Qur’an copies annually. The majority of India’s supply emanates from Delhi, underscoring the city’s pivotal role in catering to the nation’s demand.”

Apart from the Taj Company editions, translations such as “Tarjuma Qur’an,” featuring revered scholars like Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, also find prominence in Indian markets. Siddiqui emphasises the aesthetic allure of Pakistani calligraphy. “The Pakistani copy is renowned for its readability and exquisite calligraphy, a hallmark of the Taj Company,” he said.

Mehboobur Rehman, a printing expert, sheds light on the replication phenomenon, noting, “Designs from Pakistan are replicated both in India and Pakistan, particularly in Qur’anic publications. The Taj Company’s innovative techniques have garnered widespread acclaim, solidifying its legacy in both nations.”

However, the dynamics of importation of the Qur’an copies pose challenges, as Rehman elaborates, “Due to Pakistani government policies, importing the Qur’an copies is restricted, necessitating local publication.” This constraint inadvertently fosters the growth of the indigenous Qur’an printing industry, ensuring continuity and accessibility for readers across India.

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