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Master calligrapher Prem Behari Narain Raizada brought Indian Constitution to life, who was he

Master calligrapher Prem Behari Narain Raizada brought Indian Constitution to life, who was he

Master calligrapher Prem Behari Narain Raizada brought Indian Constitution to life, who was he
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By CNBCTV18.com Jan 31, 2023 1:41:24 PM IST (Updated)

PM Nehru wanted the longest legal document in the world to be handwritten, not printed. Prem Behari Narain Raizada was chosen for the job. When he was asked for the remuneration for writing the entire Constitution, Raizada refused to take “a single penny”. He did, posit one important condition: to be allowed to write his name on every page of the Constitution and the name of his grandfather

When the constituent assembly was done with the Constitution of India, they knew they had drafted a historical document. The Constitution was a reflection of the country's history and struggles, its leaders' vision, and its people's aspirations. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, thought it fit that the (written) letter of the manuscript epitomise its spirit.

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PM Nehru wanted the longest legal document in the world to be handwritten, not printed. Prem Behari Narain Raizada was chosen for the job. The man was a master calligrapher.
Raizada was born on December 16, 1901, into a family of renowned calligraphers. He began learning calligraphy at a young age. Raizada's teacher, his grandfather, was a scholar of both English and Persian and a handwriting researcher as well.
Raizada began calligraphy after graduating from St Stephen's College in Delhi. He gradually amassed fame for his graceful handwriting. When Nehru heard about him, it opened up the opportunity of a lifetime for Raizada. He was summoned to write the Constitution by hand once it was ready.
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When he was asked for the remuneration for writing the entire Constitution, Raizada refused to take “a single penny”. He did, however, posit one important condition: to be allowed to write his name on every page of the Constitution and the name of his grandfather, Ram Prasad Saxena, along with his own on the last page. It was granted and Raizada set to work.
Over the course of six months, the man worked in a room in the Constitution Hall of India. He used 432 pen-holder nibs, all of them brought from England and Czechoslovakia, to inscribe each letter beautifully on the leaves of the manuscript. In the 251 pages, he wrote, not a single word is misplaced, and there is not one blotch of ink.
Apart from the elegant calligraphy, the borders of each page also feature stunning artwork by Nandalal Bose and his students from Shantiniketan.
The original manuscript of the Constitution of India, which came into effect on January 26, 1950, now lies in the library of the Parliament of India. It is safely placed in a vault-like room in a helium-filled case. The 251-page bound manuscript weighs 3.75 kilograms.
Raizada, who died on February 17, 1986, immortalised his name and his grandfather's through his legendary work.
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