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By Geeta Pandey   BBC News, Delhi:    For centuries, professional letter writers have helped millions of illiterate Indians but many have long disappeared from the cities – but not in Delhi, where one man claims to be the last letter writer left in the country’s capital.

An Indian writes a postcard

An abiding memory of my childhood years in the Indian city of Calcutta is of my mother writing letters for our domestic help, Kailash. Kailash was 50, he was from the neighboring state of Orissa and had never been to school. Every month, my mother would put pen to paper and consult him before writing each sentence. The letters would always begin with “Dear son…” and would then ask after the well-being of his large family. They contained all his news and instructions on how to spend the money he was sending them. In our teenage years, my sister and I took on the responsibility of composing his letters. Kailash lived in our home and he could come to any of us to write his letters.

 

 

For millions of others like him, who travelled regularly from rural India to the big cities for work, there have been professional letter writers who thrived for centuries but are now on the verge of disappearing.

Jagdish Chandra Sharma is perhaps the Indian capital’s last surviving professional letter writer.  Continue reading the main story