Alok Munot and his experiments with Gandhi

By 02 Oct 2019

Alok Munot runs a family-owned print company. Joining the print business was the last thing on the mind of this amateur footballer until he saw a documentary announcingMahatma Gandhi as the Man of the Millennium.

When the PrintWeek India team visited Prabhat Printing Works in Pune, Alok Munot talked about the significance of Gandhian thoughts

Alok Munot, managing director at Prabhat Printing Works

Being blessed with a family of social revolutionaries and freedom fighters, a little bit of Gandhism is natural. Mahatma Gandhi has been and is a major source of inspiration in my life.

I am the third generation in the business and have been lucky to witness the industry transform and evolve. After my graduation in 1999, I had no intention of joining the family business of printing. So, I spent a year doing nothing, trying to find odd jobs to make my way out.

One evening, while watching television with my grandmother, Mahatma Gandhi was announced as the Man of the Millennium. The documentary encouraged me to start reading more about Gandhiji. I felt very bad that I barely knew anything about the father of our nation.

My father presented me a book – Gandhi’s Human Touch – which was a translation of a speech by Professor Madhu Dandavate, narrating various interesting instances of Mahatma Gandhi’s life, how he behaved and reacted in various situations, stuff that you will not usually find in any textbooks or in regular reads.

As the tradition has been, on the anniversary of our press, we publish various kinds of material to remember the great sons and daughters of our country. We've made posters, postcards, books on Gurudeo Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, Sane Guruji, Shri Harivanshrai Bacchhan, all of which are distributed free of cost.

For our anniversary in 2000, we decided to pay tribute to the Mahatma.

In 1999 I started gathering information. The internet was in its nascent stage and access to information was very limited and challenging. The only sources were various libraries, organisations or private collectors. I tried to get in touch with a lot of Gandhians, libraries, and institutes seeking help to collect information on Mahatma. I was mainly looking for very rare pictures of Gandhiji. But, as usual, in India  it was very difficult; nobody responded and I was ridiculed at most instances.

Sadly, our country was very naive while the world outside was celebrating the Man of the Millennium.

So I turned to the Internet. It was then the dial-up networking era. Searching wasn't as easy as it is now. And then I came across one Navin K Jain, of USA, who had a rare collection of photographs of Gandhiji. Once he was convinced that my project was merely a tribute and a completely non-profit initiative, he large- heartedly supported me by sharing all his data.

We ended up making a set of 12 picture postcards, based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, with interesting historical instances narrated on one side, accompanied with relevant photographs on the other.

It is because of this project that I entered into the world of print. I was involved in every stage of the making - from conceptualisation, designing, selection and sourcing of material to printing, fabrication and distribution. 

In all ways, it was just this one project that exposed me to all facets of print. It gave me some confidence and got me gripped into the system. I started taking lessons from my father and went on to go to Germany to study print technology.

Until this point, entering this industry was a complete no. I did not want to be contained within the confines of a printing press.

So, in a way, Gandhiji gave me my career.

A place for glue, too
I got an opportunity which was completely different and challenging. It was manufacturing of instant adhesives for retail and Industrial use. In 2014, we collaborated with Taiwan-based Cartell Chemicals, and formed Sav Chemicals in Pune.

Sav Chemicals is a professional manufacturer of cyanoacrylate adhesive (instant adhesives), anaerobic adhesive, UV-curable adhesive and structural adhesive for industrial market in India. Our adhesives are also widely used in the flex printing industry. Today, we have business press across India in most of the major cities.

To supply to the increasing demand of instant adhesives in India, Sav Chemicals offers a range of different grades and packaging. It is a solution for a product range from low viscosity to high viscosity for aapplications like rubber, metal, acrylic, wood, etc. We are well known by our brands: Mxbon and Mxloc in international markets.

 

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