Jaipur Jottings: From Popular to Shuban

Rahul Kumar trudged from Delhi to Jaipur by train. As he gazed past the dilapidated pavements in Johari Bazaar (the old royal city of Jaipur), he heard the Marwari dialect. That's when Kumar knew he was in the Pink City. A first person report on the eve of the LMAI Conference.

16 Jul 2015 | By Rahul Kumar

We dodged past a fancy SUV through the Sanganeri Gate bottle-neck. I was informed by my guide who was at the railway station to receive PrintWeek India, that “Overall, the Jaipur printing market is growing. Everything is happening slowly but growth is there.”
We pass the iconic Hawa Mahal
My guide says, our first stop is Popular Printers.
En route, he asks me, if I have heard of Tikam Chand and his brother, Surender, who wield the 1860 Carl Zeiss camera manufactured in Germany.
For centuries, the antique camera has been snapping portraits, on the sidewalk which is adjacent to the Jaipur Maharaja’s Town Hall.
The camera was deployed by Pahari Master, the royal photographer to the Maharaja of Jaipur in the 19th century, the grandfather to the two brothers, Tikam Chand and Surender.
But that is the bygone past.
We arrive at the doorstep of Popular Printers, which has expanded its production capacity for books and commercial jobs. 18 months ago, the book print firm has installed the Komori LA37 and printed more than 2.5 crore sheets on it. Plate consumption is approximately 3000 plates per month on the Kodak CTP Trendsetter.
Numbers are impressive.
The man at the helm is Nirmal Goyal who has renovated the entire facility and upgraded the plant into a professional set up from a traditional one.
Recently, Popular Printers has printed two books for international writers as well.
After my first visit, my guide requests that I should try the new Jaipur Metro, touted as one of the fastest built metro systems in the country, which was inaugurated in June.
I decline the offer to use the 9.6 km long route from Mansarovar to Chandpole.
It’s back on the road.
The second press I visit is Shubhan Prints who have grown by 100% and planning an action replay of their growth strategy in the new financial year.
For this, Shuban Prints is eyeing the lucrative pharma printing segment. For this, Shuban has installed folding machines and planning a third. The work other than one major pharma player is focused on manufacturing sweet boxes and fancy designers boxes. For which they are planning to establish an exclusive packaging unit soon.
Bharat Gupta, owner, recently purchased an Audi A6. Besides his love for an in house three ply corrugation production facility, he loves his music.
Both Gupta and Goyal are delighted with the new spurt in the economy. They say, government policies and start-ups, across categories, have helped them to achieve “customer traction”. Gupta says, there is market connect with larger entities and businesses setting up projects in the cities of Rajasthan.
Even as I exit, Shuban Prints, I wonder what Pahari Master who was a philanthropist, a social worker and an avid donor to charity, would make of this new Jaipur?
Today, his 155-year-old camera would no longer charge a meagre Rs 200 for a sepia-toned portrait.
The price of an image of Lord Krishna like the price of a Jaipuri Paan would be much-much more.
But that is the past.
Now (16 July) all eyes are on the LMAI Conference which is slated to kick off in grand style.