Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A hand-painted signboard in Old Delhi

I enjoy seeing hand-painted boards, even when they are not particularly artistic. The higgedly-piggedly defects seem delightful, compared to the stencilled perfection of computerised graphics. This one is from near the Jama Masjid, describing the municipal corporation's school for girls.
Photo credit: Thomas Hart, who travelled with us last year
Like all official signboards, it is in four languages, English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. And, it is also in four different scripts: Hindi is written in the Devnagri script, English using the Roman alphabet, Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script and Urdu in a modified form of the Persian nastaliq script. No painter of signs can be expected to know all of these :) So obviously the man who painted this was only blindly copying squiggly signs. 

My daughter wrote an article about the multi-lingual signboards of Delhi, and the history behind them. It's a very interesting story. Here is the link: http://delhimagic.blogspot.in/2013/04/signboards-in-delhi-language-debates-in.html