Is Pen Mightier or Paper Dead!

Here the writer reminisces about pen. He is anguished that in this paper free era, pen has become redundant.

Bygone is the day when we can stick to the famous words of Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton, ‘Pen is mightier than the sword’. Everyone knows and feels that ‘pen and paper’ bond is a priceless one. You feel naturally creative when you write with a pen. Life in this digital age has changed.

Typing on the keyboard is so fast that people hardly go for pen and paper. Only our students in colleges and schools are still expected to write with a pen. We never think how bored they actually feel and the dullness associated with it. . We have less time nowadays for writing with pen. At one time handwriting was a matter of pride for many. Now, all those euphoria are over. On our birthday very few bring the pen set as a gift. Who wants a pen – surely no child!

Handwriting is just despised. In office handwritten applications are not given much importance in spite of its authenticity. This way handwriting should not be discouraged. It makes a writer more creative and innovative. Digital typing destroys handwriting and the pen is now only used as a costly gift or a memento. Imagine that day when suddenly all computers crashed all over the world and only paper and pen come to the rescue.

For all the power of video and film, we cannot give up our pen. Those who have not got the opportunity to write with pen or whose birthday goes without a pen set are really unfortunate. Life is too dull for them. Writers are really wonderful with their pen in their hand. Still the proverb pen is mightier than the sword lingers on. Pen is mightier and this is to be understood even by those who kill people for having their beliefs and faiths in certain ideals. With a pen you may create, but with a sword you destroy. John Golby, in his article, Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic (The Guardian, Oct 30, 2015) explores the thrill of writing, when he says, “Instead, overwhelmed by the myriad options available to me, I decided to just write.” The is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you’re simply using a pen to record what you have thought out.

Malala Yousafzai wrote, “Let us remember, one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world”. When you die, others who think they know you; will concoct things about you. Better take a pen and write it yourself. Autobiography is bad but biography is worse. The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short and the pen is very sharp. Nations and people are deprived of their freedom and the great Iron Curtain dropped around nations can be written off by the stroke of a pen.

Let me conclude with the words of Jackson Pollock, “When I say artist I mean the man who is building things — creating moulding the earth — whether it be the plains of the west – or the iron ore of Penn. It’s all a big game of construction – some with a brush — some with a shovel — some choose a pen”.

I may include one poem that I composed on a golden Parker pen that one of my friends gifted to me. I reproduce the poem below. It makes me nostalgic.

The Golden Parker Pen bears my Name

Real friends remain, others are gone

The golden Parker pen had the purity of stone

The golden pen bears my name in gold

It makes me forget that memories are old

Gone are sweet moments all with the wind 

Those who are real, only they will remain 

Others who came to my life for a purpose

They left for far off lands giving me pain

I stay here slithering very much alone

Malignant twilight hours often weep

Oblivion is better, when with me I have none 

Cries of emptiness there to harshly whip.

I am in a lagoon of restless gloom 

Louder was the murmurs of ceaseless wind 

Some moments I fell in an abyss 

When I feel I am ruined. 

Salt was in my head, salt was in my eyes

The golden Parker pen heard my cries

I had no dreams, only some space was there

When all had left me , none was there to care.

Life is often a sandy wind 

When all is blown and ruined.

Great solitude in deeper heart reigns

But no rains needed now to wash my pains.

Long live Pen and Paper.


Ratan Bhattacharjee

Ratan Bhattacharjee

Ratan is a bilingual writer and academician, he isAssociate Professor and head of English literaturein Motijheel College, Kolkata. He is a guest faculty at Rabindra Bharati University and a
member of the advisory board of International Theodore Dreiser Society, USA. He is the founder
director of the Dattani Archive and Research Association (DARA), Kolkata. He edits a journal,
authored several books, published poems and writes for several webzines. His book of love poems for his wife was translated into Assamese. He is also is a social media buff.
Ratan Bhattacharjee

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