The Musalman - founded in 1927 - claims the title of the oldest Urdu daily paper in India. It may also be the only one still using traditional calligraphers. And with a cover price of 75 paise - that's one US cent, or a penny in British currency - it must surely be about the cheapest paid-for title in the world.
The paper's been based in the largely Muslim district of Triplicane, what passes for inner-city in Chennai, ever since it was set up. I popped by at its rather cramped offices today and chatted to Syed Arifullah, the young man who is both editor and proprietor (he requested no photographs),
The paper was set up by his grandfather and he's the third generation to run it. And in case you are wondering, well, his son is just three - so it's a little early to say!
And for such a venerated title, its offices are about as inconspicuous as you can get.
The paper has a network of freelance reporters across India. It consists of four pages and publishes seven days a week. The print run is 21,000 - about a third of those sell in and around Chennai and the rest are posted to subscribers.
The Musalman employs three kitabs - traditional Urdu calligraphers. It takes them an hour to get the paper ready for the offset printing press, which is on the premises. No, the paper doesn't pay, Syed Arifullah says; but he's proud to keep the title and its traditions alive and it's subsidised by the commercial printing that he takes on.
The newspaper's offices are adjoining Chennai's grandest mosque, the Wallajah Big Mosque, built towards the close of the eighteenth century by the family of the Nawab of Arcot, whose heartland this was. It is constructed of granite throughout and is visually arresting - though once again photos are not allowed, so this is the view from Triplicane High Road.
And of course, where you have a large expanse of property in a central location, you have a property dispute to go with it ...
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