The Musalman is the world's oldest Urdu-language daily newspaper. It is also thought to be the world's last handwritten daily newspaper. Every day, four katibs—practitioners of the ancient art of Urdu calligraphy—write The Musalman's four broadsheet pages from right to left, by hand. Mistakes sometimes require rewriting the entire page. They then send it to a printer for reproduction, and sell it on the streets of Chennai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The 10-minute documentary above depicts the process.
The Musalman has reporters in New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and other Indian cities. Reporters deliver news by phone or fax; all writing occurs at the hands of the katibs.
The front page is for national and international news; the second and third for local news; and the fourth for sports. They leave a square of space on the bottom right corner of the front page blank, in case of breaking news, Times of India explained in a 2007 feature.
The paper's editor position has passed from father to son since its foundation in 1927, with each editor working until the day he dies. In a video interview, one former (now deceased) editor says the paper is his calling:
I have great respect for Urdu. I have sacrificed my life for Urdu. It is my will and wish to die working for The Musalman.