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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Encashing religious sentiments - the costly Balaji Pen !!

Certainly nothing to do with its utility value.  At best a collector’s item, the real worth of this can never be reckoned. It only appears to be a Foreign Company’s novel way of exploiting the religious sentiment of Lord Balaji and making money. 

In India,  millions are devotees of Lord Balaji and the most veneered Thirumala Thirupathi is daily visited by lakhs of people.  People wait for long hours to have few seconds of darshan of the Lord on Seven Hills.  whatever sells in HIS name, the profits goes to him.   The Tirumala Hill is 3,200 feet (980 m) above sea level and is about 10.33 square miles (27 km2) in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri, Narayanadri, and Venkatadri.   Lord Srinivasa’s  temple is on Venkatadri known as the Saptagiri (7 hills)  

Writing is most important though the practice of writing is slowly dying.  It is believed that Indians pioneered writing with writing materials as many of our epics have been recorded in various forms.  In earlier days, bird feathers, sharp instruments, bamboo sticks were used to write, especially on palm and other leaves.  Legend has it that Sage Vyasa dicated ‘Mahabaratha’ which was written by Lord Ganesha with his teeth (ivory tusk)

Much later pen was discovered – pen (Latin – penna) is a device used to apply ink to a surface generally paper.  There are many types of pens – remember we used fountain pens in our study days, there were also ball point pens.  Now a days most students use gel pen in which ink is a water based gel.  The ink is thick and opaque and shows up more clearly.  Fountain pens had the nibs and had reservoir of ink in the bottom portion. Filling was manual though there were some using vacuum.   Camlin was one of the most popular brands in use those days.  Parker, Pilot were in the hands of the rich.  Though any good writing pen would do, there has been craze for costly brands such as Schaeffer, Cross, Ferrari, Mont Blanc, Bentley, Mercedes,  Giorgio Armani, Parker, Koh-i-noor, and  more.  There are also Celebrity pieces made for the occasions and limited versions studded with gems and diamonds on gold and other metal of high value

Caran d'Ache is a Swiss manufacturer of luxury writing instruments.  It was  officially opened in Geneva in 1924 though it has its beginnings traced to 1915.  There are some specially crafted luxury writing instruments which command unbelievably high price.  In Foreign countries there are Exclusive shops for premium stationery.  William Penn is one such premium shop in Bangalore and many other cities. 

Recently the shop has launched a limited edition Balaji pen stated to be tribute by Caran d’Ache to Lord Balaji.  This is an exquisite creation made by Switzerland’s famous jeweller Edouard Jud.  This pen is made up  generously of  gold and precious stones carefully hand engraved on the pen’s black lacquer and gold embalmed body.
The limited edition Balaji pen of Caran d’Ache

The pictorials also include the conch shell and the chakra, which are closely associated with Lord Vishnu and his supremacy over the universe. The pen has been created in 2 editions; the all gold and the diamond edition. The diamond edition includes special crafted 166 Wesselton diamonds, which have been fitted by hand on the body, whereas the gold version simply has the other engravings.

Touted for its exclusivity, this is a limited edition pen.  The Balaji Limited Edition comprises 108 fountain pens and 108 roller pens in solid 800 silver. 108 is a key number in Indian tradition and represents the 108 different names for Lord Balaji. This prestigious writing instrument is also available in a gold version with 10 fountain pens and 10 roller pens.   The pen is described as :  Body in a black mat lacquer ; 18 carat gold and rhodium nib.  Gold Edition - 18 carat solid gold cage and attributes; Crowned with a 8.8 mm citrine.  Silver Edition  -  Rhodium-coated solid silver cage and attributes;  Crowned with an 8.8 mm orange-pink cornelian.

The  Caran d'ache Lord Balaji Roller pen (Limited Edition) is priced at $10,500  (Rs.4.85 lakhs approx)

The  1010 pen of Caran d’Ache

Incidentally, some of the pens of Caran d’Ache future on the costliest pens available in the World.  There is the  Caran d'Ache "1010" Foundation Pen  named from “Ten minutes past ten (10:10),” when a watch has the right balance. This pen made from rhodium-plated silver. The Caran d’Ache “1010″ Foundation Pen is a tribute to honor the Swiss watchmaking industry. A decorative balance wheel has been placed between two rubies under a sapphire dome and the beautiful little ticks value scratched around barrels. Pen price is $ 19,000. (Rs. 8.75 lakhs approx).   The costliest of them all is believed to be Mont Blanc -  Mont Blanc Star Pen 18K gold-plated platinum. This pen has a price of U.S. $ 1.5 million. 
Mont blanc pen
Caran d'Ache was the pseudonym of the 19th century French satirist and political cartoonist Emmanuel Poiré. "Caran d'Ache" comes from the Russian word meaning pencil and  black slate.  The Swiss art products company Caran d'Ache is named after him.

Millions visit Thirumala offering gifts of Gold, silver, currency and all other valuables.  Devotees throng to HIM seeking remedy from diseases, seeking good health and wealth.  HE remains the benefactor to all – perhaps there are people beyond the barrier who seek to benefit by HIS benevolence.

S. Sampathkumar.

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