Project Kitabat – An Initiative By Enactus NSUTPurani Dilli Walo Ki Baatein
The bustling streets of Old Delhi were once a home to scores of adroit men and women whose souls
reverberated with the art that they had inherited through generations. One such art form that flourished
on the Urdu Bazaar road was Arabic and Urdu calligraphy, popular by the name of Kitabat. The art that
once echoed the glory of Indian culture is dying a silent death, struggling to find an existence in the
modern era of digitisation and 3D printing. Consequently, many Katibs or Urdu calligraphers switched to
other professions to earn a living and those who still continue as practitioners are rendered jobless for
Project Kitabat, an initiative by Enactus NSUT, recognised the need to preserve and foster an integral part
of the Indian culture and history and to uplift these Katibs from the hapless circumstances. The initiative
aims to revive the dying art of Urdu calligraphy and to regenerate its lost value by making it relevant to the
To create a high-demand market for our Katibs, items of everyday utility like wall decors, t-shirts,
envelopes and badges have been blended with the art to suit consumer interests. Contrary to their
traditional sales channels, online platforms including e-commerce websites like Etsy have redefined the
way this art reaches to the commoners. Sales are also facilitated through active social media handles of
The reach of offline channels has also increased manifold by setting up stalls at various college
fests and cultural festivals. Stalls set up at the Urdu Heritage festival and Jashn-e-Rekhta have provided
the much-needed exposure to our Katibs through live calligraphy and product sales.
The rudimentary aim of popularising the art form is kept alive by releasing regular informatory posts
through our social media handles and newspaper coverage including The Times of India and The
Culture Gully. Collaborations with various government institutions and NGOs like Purani Dilli Walo Ki
Baatein has helped us to provide a constant income source to our Katibs. Our efforts were also
acknowledged by Qamar Dagar, a globally renowned calligrapher and Abu Sufiyan, an entrepreneur and cultural influencer who signed up as a project mentor. Starting with just one Katib, we now have four katibs- Mohammad Ghalib, Ameen Ur Rehman, Syed Sallauddin and Anis Siddique (father of calligraphy) whose lives have been impacted by our project.
With our assistance, these Katibs now organise workshops in cafes like Kunzum Travel Cafe, Greenr Cafe, etc
and impart their skills to the upcoming generation. These workshops will also be organised in schools and
madrasas to tap potential calligraphers in the near future. Short-term, recognised courses have also been
developed for learners so that they can transform their calligraphic skills into a full-fledged profession.
As confident teachers, independent entrepreneurs and active propagators of the art, our Katibs have found a
reason to take pride in their magnificent creations. Project Kitabat is glad to be a catalyst of change in their
lives and aspires to continue with the good work.