Brief history of the Jammu Printers Association

The Jammu Printers Association (JPA) recently organised a felicitation programme P Chander, president, and other office-bearers of the All-India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP). On the occasion, SK Gupta, founder member and past-president, Jammu Printers Association, traced the history of JPA. The following is the edited transcript.

02 Feb 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

The AIFMP office-bearers with the JPA members

I entered the printing business on 1 January 1964. Ours was the 12th printing press in Jammu. It was inaugurated by Dina Nath Mahajan, the then revenue minister in Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad's ministry.

My father was a great visionary and always believed in doing big things, whereas I have led a very contented life, which has helped me in attaining two hallmarks of my life — quality and punctuality. My father ran a soda water business and was the first in North India to import an aerated water plant from Barnet & Foster, England through Larsen & Toubro, Bombay.

At that time, printing presses were using Bronze Blue 9540, red and black inks. Super-gloss inks were least heard of. We purchased a huge quantity of Ganges inks in different shades. This quantity was so enormous that we didn’t feel the need to purchase inks for the next few years. Mr Ghosh of Ganges Inks (he later floated Taas Inks) was so impressed by the deal that he came over to Jammu to meet us, and later, on his invitation, I visited the Ganges Inks manufacturing unit at Vikhroli in Mumbai. We used fluorescent inks for the first time in Jammu. An introductory letter printed in eight-colours was sent to local business houses.

My son has inherited the qualities of his grandfather of thinking big. At present, he is an international motivator and mentor to many Olympic players. Ravi Dhaiya, the silver medallist in wrestling owes his success at Tokyo Olympics 2020 to him. He had specially come to Jammu to dedicate his medal to my son Vickrant.

The first printing association was formed in 1965 in our office where Lajpat Rai Chadha of Naresh Art Press and grandfather of Sahil Chadha was made president. S Harbans Singh, father of our president, S Joginder Singh of Amar Art Press, Kumari Shanta Bharti of Bharti Printing Press, Suraj Parkash Aneja of Lion Press were among the members who attended this meeting. Unfortunately, this association couldn't advance past its inception meeting.

From time-to-time, efforts were made to unite the printers. An effort was made by LR Ahuja, owner Murphy Radios and Ved Gupta, editor, Savera, who jointly owned a printing press to revive the association but didn't go beyond a few meetings. Ved Gupta was an excellent radio artist and his Punjabi programme was fondly heard across the border.

In early 1970s, Jammu Printers Association was revived with Shanker Dass Sharma of Shaker Art Press as president and MD Bhat of Kranti Press as general secretary. This association took up the problems of the printers with various government departments. Bhat was energetic and his witty remarks always kept the members in good humour. The meeting was lively. Shanker Dass Sharma was a thorough gentleman.

Sales tax on printing was a big problem at that time and all the members always felt agitated about it. But once this problem was solved, this association went into hibernation.

In the meantime, many new printing presses were being established. Printers started feeling the need for a forum where they could meet and discuss their problems and work for the well-being of the industry.

Prem Saraf had retired from the government printing press. He possessed a diploma in printing from the Printing Institute, Allahabad and his father Mulk Raj Saraf is known as the father of journalism in Jammu & Kashmir State. He owned VIP Press and was nominated as the first president of the present Jammu Printers Association in 1980. OP Batra of Batra Printers was the general secretary. Meetings started being held regularly.

For the first few years, the president was elected on the floor of the house and by show of hands, and in turn, the president nominated the office-bearers. So, there was very little dissent.

In 1984, a vacancy opened for the post of vice-president and Prem Saraf nominated him as his deputy. I became the president of the Jammu Printers Association in 1988. First and foremost, I got the association registered with the Registrar of Societies in 1988, got it affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and in the same year JPA got affiliation with the All-India Federation of Master Printers.

Just by coincidence, the governing council meeting of the Federation was held at Hotel Centaur Lake View, Srinagar immediately after our affiliation. KL Shroff was elected president in that meeting. Shripati Sharma and I attended the meeting. Arun Gupta joined us on the second day of the meeting.

The Jammu Printers Conference was held under my presidentship. Shripati Sharma was the general secretary. I rate him as the most efficient general secretary the association ever had. S Harbans Singh, the minister for industries and printing, was the chief guest. The late Viren Chabbra, past-president, AIFMP and the editor of Printing Times delivered the keynote address. JPA had a long and fruitful relationship with him. He was affable and accommodating.

The third J&K Printers Awards were held in 2006 under the presidentship of Arun Gupta. Satish Jandial was the general secretary. Deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma was the chief guest.

In the interim period, Adarshpal Gupta, Sanjeev Vij, Shripati Sharma, Girish Kapoor, the late Atma Singh have served as presidents and the late Naresh Dutt Mehta and Sunil Bajaj have served as general secretary of the association and made their contribution to strengthen the association. It is a matter of great pleasure for us that S Joginder Singh and the past-president Adarshpal Gupta have served as vice-president (North) in the Federation.

Our members have been attending printers’ conferences within the country as well as abroad from time to time and benefitting from the technological advancements.

In the past two years, activities of the association have been deeply hampered. Yet, president S Joginder Singh, general secretary Sanjay Verma and other office-bearers are doing their best to keep the organisation on the right track.

We are in the 41st year of the association, and I am hopeful the office-bearers will do every effort to make it a more vibrant and happening organisation.

I have tried to recollect the names and events to the best of my ability. If something is missing, it is not intentional but can be attributed to lapse of memory.