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Dunlop News - Sahaganj, May 1984 Issue - Trilingual Edition


    Dunlop Ltd. expanded from a small firm launched in Dublin in 1889 to the largest tyre and rubber goods manufacturer in Britain in its heyday.1 The Dunlop Tyres division forayed into foreign territories and established itself as a major (if not the largest) player in the markets. The division used to manufacture cycle, automobile and aeroplane tyres. Scotsman John Boyd Dunlop had developed the first modern pneumatic tyre in 1888.. William Harvey du Cros founded the company in 1889 and propelled Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre into production. J.B. Dunlop eventually withdrew from the company in 1896.2

    Dunlop Tyres’ first factory in India was set up at Sahaganj, a riverside town in Hooghly, West Bengal, which is synonymous with the company and its factory. The factory went through several shutdowns and revivals and eventually closed its doors. A stone plaque at the site records the visit of Prince Charles to the factory in 1980.3

Contributor: Chandrima Mukhopadhyay (Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chandrimoon)

    The trilingual newspaper was titled “Dunlop News, Sahaganj” and was published by the Sahaganj factory of Dunlop. It  recorded and reported many events of the erstwhile tyre industry and had a special section to showcase achievements of the employees and their families. The following images are from the May 1984 issue of the newspaper (Volume IX, Issue 5) contributed by Chandrima Mukhopadhyay from her collection. The newspapers used to be published as English, Bengali and Hindi editions.


Title Page, Dunlop News, 1984. Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

About the May 1984 issue of the newspaper, Chandrima writes:

    “This set of papers has always been treasured by my mother (Papiya Mukhopadhyay née Bandyopadhyay), especially this issue, because she herself is featured in this paper when she earned accolades at the annual science exhibition during her college days. I’ve always been pleasantly astounded by the quality of papers used to print the Dunlop periodicals, because there has hardly been any degradation of the pages at all despite the gap of three decades between then and now. My grandfather was an employee at Dunlop, thus the reason why my mother’s achievement was featured in one of their issues– they used to have a specific column to showcase the personal achievements of the employees’ families. The content as well as the technical aspects of the paper were quite distinctive. There was another issue that has recently been misplaced, featuring Charles, the Prince of Wales’ visit to the Dunlop factory in Sahaganj, Bandel.”

    The achievements section (“Family News”)  of the May 1984 issue mentioned by Chandrima contains the photograph of her mother and reads:

    “Miss Papiya Bandyapadhya daughter of Mr. Rabindra Nath Bandyapadhya of A.O.S. Department has established herself as an up-coming scientist. Her model “Synaptic Transmission” was adjudged 2nd in the "Science Model Exhibition” organised recently at the Hooghly Mohsin College where a large number of schools and scientific organisations participated. Her model "Demonstration and Behaviour” was also adjudged first in the Inter- College Biological Section. Well done, Papiya.”

                               "Family News", Dunlop News, 1984. Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

    Another page from the issue, with the headline “Rise in Domestic Natural Rubber Prices to Record High Levels” and begins as:

“At Dunlop India’s 58th Annual General Meeting on May 16, 1984 Mr. L. J. Tompsett, Chairman, highlighted some of the major problems facing our Company, particularly the steep rise in cost of domestic natural rubber to record high levels, sluggish truck tyre demand, the adverse effect of power shortage on production costs, the consequent requirement of higher captive power generation at both the factories and the escalation of electricity costs due to tariff increases.” 
The rest of the page contains the Chairman’s speech at the 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company. 


      "Rise in Domestic Natural Rubber Prices...", Dunlop News, 1984. Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

    [Images Descriptions: The images contain the photographs of the “Dunlop News, Sahaganj” newspaper with each showing different pages and the English, Bengali and Hindi editions of it.
In the first image, the newspaper title and edition details are visible, all printed in black ink on traditional newspaper material. 

    The second image has the English, Hindi and Bengali editions all places side-by-side where the English headline runs: “Rise in Domestic Natural Rubber Prices to Record High Levels”. The same is visible in the respective languages in the other editions. The page contains the photograph of the then-Chairman of Dunlop India,  L. J. Tompsett, delivering the AGM address. The rest of the page contains the text of the address while the bottom right contains a photograph of the shareholders in attendance, all seated on chairs. Above the photo is a small box with the logo of Dunlop and the text “Dunlop News”, “Sahaganj” with the edition details.

    The third image has the section headline “Family News” and features the achievements of the family members of the employees. On the right is the image of Mrs. Papiya Bandopadhya (mother of the contributor, Chandrima Mukhopadhyay) and on the right is the image of one Amit Sinha. Their achievements have been highlighted in the columns beside the photographs. The next section headline on the same page reads “Shram Vir Award for Mr. Ganguly” and contains photographs of him and his family members. To the right is a small cartoon with the tagline: “Replace Worn Tools” and has a caricature figure with a hammer whose iron head is flying away due to being loose. The right side also has a long box listing the products manufactured by Dunlop India. The third section of the page has another comic strip with one panel having a lit bulb in daytime and a person walking by while the other panel has the image of a person fanning an infant due to the electricity being out. The first panel reads “ don’t waste energy…” and the second one finishes with “You may need it later!”

    The text of the English pages are available as an OCR-ed screen-reader accessible PDF file embedded on this page.]

Additional Resources:

    1 Jones, Geoffrey. “The Growth and Performance of British Multinational Firms before 1939: The Case of Dunlop”, 1984. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2596830

    2 “John Dunlop”, Automotive Hall of Fame, 2005.  URL: https://www.automotivehalloffame.org/honoree/john-dunlop/

    3 Basak, Probal. “40 Years Ago...and now: The wheel turns full circle for Dunlop”, Business Standard, 2014. https://www.business-standard.com/article/management/40-years-ago-and-now-the-wheel-turns-full-circle-for-dunlop-114102200925_1.html