The typewriter lives on in India

India’s typewriter culture survives the age of computers in offices where bureaucracy demands typed forms and in rural areas where many homes don’t have electricity.

Mark Magnier

It’s a stultifying afternoon outside the Delhi District Court as Arun Yadav slides a sheet of paper into his decades-old Remington and revs up his daily 30-word-a-minute tap dance.
Nearby, hundreds of other workers clatter away on manual typewriters amid a sea of broken chairs and wobbly tables as the occasional wildlife thumps on the leaky tin roof above.
"Sometimes the monkeys steal the affidavits," Yadav said. "That can be a real nuisance."
The factories that make the machines may be going silent, but India’s typewriter culture remains defiantly alive, fighting on bravely against that omnipresent upstart, the computer. (In fact, if India had its own version of "Mad Men," with its perfumed typing pools and swaggering execs, it might not be set in the 1960s but the early 1990s, India’s peak typewriter years, when 150,000 machines were sold annually.)
Credit for its lingering presence goes to India’s infamous bureaucracy, as enamored as ever of outdated forms (often in triplicate) and useless procedures, documents piled 3 feet high and binders secured by pink string.

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Typewriters in India

Repairmen work at New Delhi’s Chawla Typewriters. (Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times / September 1, 2011)

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