Hyderabad: Little did Mohd Abdul Razzaq know in 1907 that a small shop started near Charminar would be relevant even after 110 years. Hilal Pen Store, a small shop started near Charminar, is now being run by the third generation of the Abdul family and is still serving the needs of the antique pen lovers by providing different nibs, fountain and ink pens.
Enthusiastically showing the century old collection, Mohd Abdul Khader, one of the five managing partners said that they have nibs of different sizes and shapes that were made in 1940s and 50s. His grandfather Abdul Razzaq had opened a small shop near Charminar taking inspiration from his uncle and started the pen store by making nibs and pens at home.
“My grandmother used to shape the wood for making the pen and nibs used to come from Iran and they use to sell them at two paise at that time. Slowly, from there we started manufacturing Ebonite fountain pens under the brand name of Sultan Pens and a lot of people used to think that it was a store but only when they come to the shop do they realise that it is a brand of pens,” informs Mohd Abdul Gaffar, partner, Hilal Pen Store and brother of Abdul Khader.
Abdul Razzaq, a Kashmiri by origin was part of the Mughal army and moved to Hyderabad with the troops. Eventually, he joined the Nizam army and post retirement he set up his own business taking inspiration from his uncle who was already into the business.
Eventually, the small pen shop was taken over by Abdul Razzaq’s son Mohd Abdul Wahab who started a much bigger shop near Krishna Talkies in 1932. Abdul Wahab started importing fountain and ink pens from worldwide and raw material from India to manufacture their own brand of pens. The store used to have a manufacturing unit in their house with 10-15 employees to make handmade fountain pens but eventually due to the slowdown in fountain pen sales, they had to close it down.
“Just a month ago, we had to close down our old ancient shop due to expansion drive in the city and are now building a brand new shop in Mughalpura. However, we still have antique pens and nibs in our store that were manufactured about 60-70 years. We still get enquiries from across India and on order basis we make and deliver the pens,” Abdul Gaffar said, who has completed his law from Osmania University.
The store was also among the first pen stores in Hyderabad that sells gold nib pens and is also famous for its repairing works. The four sons of Abdul Wahab are still adept with repairing works and according to Abdul Gaffar they can repair any kind of pen whether it be ink or ball pens. Although, the store has other products on display like regular stationery, the family takes pride in securing their old age tradition of fountain pens.
“My father passed away in 1994 and since then we have been running the shop and want to protect our heritage till we can. Although the other brothers do have their own passion to follow like one of my brothers Mohd Abdul Aziz is an Olympian and is a Judo coach, but we still want to continue the business as long as we can,” Abdul Gaffar informs with a twinkle in his eyes.
Currently, the fourth generation does not seem to be too interested in the business but the brothers are passionate about the store as they have dedicated their whole life to it. So, the next time you want to go down the nostalgia lane and want to know about fountain pens you know where to head!