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आपण लहानपणापासून जी पेन्सिल वापरली तिच्याविषयी हे माहीत आहे का?

लहानपणी पेन्सिल म्हटलं की नटराज आणि अप्सरा याच पेन्सिल फक्त आपल्याला माहीत होत्या. आपल्या लहानपणीच्या आठवणींच्या कोपऱ्यात या पेन्सिल अजूनही घर करून आहेत.

लाल काळ्या पट्ट्यांची नटराज पेन्सिल ( NATRAJ PENCIL ) आणि राखाडी काळा पट्ट्यांची अप्सरा पेन्सिल. ( APSARA PENCIL ) या दोन पेन्सिल्स आपल्या डोळ्यासमोर लगेच येतात.

या अप्सरा आणि नटराज पेन्सिलची सुरुवात नेमकी कशी झाली? आपल्यापर्यंत त्या कशा पोहोचल्या? हे अनेकांना माहित नाही. या पेन्सिलची सुरुवात कशी, कुठे आणि कोणी केली? हे जाणून घेऊया लेखातून.

गुलामगिरीचा काळ होता. अगदी सुईपासून ते पेन्सिल पर्यंत अनेक गोष्टी परदेशातून पुरवल्या जात होत्या. १९३९-४० च्या दरम्यान भारतात लाखो पेन्सिल्स जर्मनी आणि जपान सारख्या देशांमधून आयात केल्या जात होत्या.

दुसऱ्या जागतिक महायुद्धला सुरुवात झाल्यावर अचानक ही आयात कमी झाली. मग अशावेळी काय करायचं असा प्रश्न निर्माण भारतीयांना पडला.

अशा अवस्थेत काही भारतीय उद्योजकांनी पेन्सिल बनवण्याचा निर्णय घेतला.कोलकत्ता ,बॉम्बे आणि मद्रास मध्ये अनेक कारखाने यासाठी उभारण्यात आले.

दुसरे जागतिक महायुद्ध संपल्यानंतर परदेशातील पेन्सिलची आयात पुन्हा एकदा सुरू झाली. परदेशातून येणाऱ्या पेन्सिल समोर भारतातील पेन्सिलचा टिकाव लागत नव्हता. यामुळं नुकसान होऊ लागल.

पेन्सिल व्यावसायिकांनी सरकारकडे मदत मागितली. त्यानंतर सरकारन या विदेशी पेन्सिल वर काही निर्बंध लावले. परंतु भारतात तयार झालेल्या पेन्सिल या विदेशी पेन्सिलच्या तुलनेत महाग आणि हलक्या दर्जाच्या होत्या.

त्यानंतर बीजे सांगवी, ( BJ SANGHAVI ) रामनाथ मेहरा ( RAMNATH MEHRA ) आणि मनसुकणी ( MANSUKNI ) या तीन मित्रांनी मिळून १९५८ मध्ये ‘हिंदुस्तान पेन्सिल्स’ ( HINDUSTAN PENCILS ) नावाची पेन्सिल कंपनी सुरू केली.

ते या व्यवसायाबद्दल जर्मनी मधून शिकून आले होते.हळूहळू या पेन्सिल्स लोकप्रिय होऊ लागल्या. या कंपनीच पहिलं प्रोडक्ट नटराज पेन्सिल होती. ‘चलती ही जाये’, ‘नटराज मेक्स यू विनर’ ( NTARAJ MAKES YOU WINNER ) अशा टॅगलाइन वापरून या कंपनीन ग्राहकांना आकर्षित केलं.

त्यानंतर बीजे सांगवी यांनी कंपनीची सर्व सूत्र स्वतःच्या हातात घेतली .१९७० मध्ये अप्सरा पेन्सिल ची सुरुवात झाली .अप्सराची एक ड्रॉईंग पेन्सिल ( DRAWING PENCIL ) म्हणून ओळख निर्माण झाली.

आता जगामध्ये सर्वात मोठ्या प्रमाणावर जर कोणते देश पेन्सील बनवत असतील. पेन्सिलची निर्यात करत असतील तर ते आहेत चीन ब्राझील आणि जर्मनी .

मात्र आता या देशांना टक्कर देत ही कंपनी तब्बल ५० देशांमध्ये या पेन्सिलचा पुरवठा करत आहे. आजच्या परिस्थितीत हिंदुस्तान पेन्सिल दहा वेगवेगळ्या फॅक्टरीजमधून बनवली जाते. एका दिवसाला साधारण सहा ते आठ लाख पेन्सिल बनवल्या जातात.

आंतरराष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा मानांकनही या पेन्सिलला मिळाले आहे. सुरू होऊन इतके दशक झाले तरी अजूनही भारतीयांची पसंती याच पेन्सिलला आहे.

कितीही रंगीबेरंगी पेन्सिल आल्या, जग पेपरलेस झाले, तरी या पेन्सिल मात्र आपल्या मनात कायम घर करून असतील यात शंका नाही.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H30KmAr1Fjw

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