Industry legend Chockalingam is dead

R Chockalingam of Srinivas Fine Art, one of the industry’s leading lights in high-end book production; and the person who put print from Sivakasi on the world map, died on 9 December at 6:30 pm.

10 Dec 2021 | By Sriraam Selvam

R Chockalingam, Srinivas Fine Art

In his tribute, print technologist Kiran Prayagi said, "R Chockalingam, chairman of Srinivas Fine Arts, Sivakasi, is a self-made man. He started with outsourcing printing services and slowly building up his own identity with ultra-modern printing and publishing facilities with one of the finest binderies in South Asia. His attention to the details in business as well as personal relationships (coconut water was compulsory) is astounding."

When PrintWeek had met Chockalingam, the Srinivas Fine Art company was worth Rs 259 crores. It boasted of the Nightingale brand name in its roster, which notched up 50% exports. Shortly after, the book print behemoth installed a brand new Kolbus hard-cover line in India to produce premium stationery and diaries. This resulted in India's most expensive Silver Oak Diary at Rs 57,000.

The founder, R Chockalingam had a humble beginning. He was an assistant manager in Hind Matches in 1955, after which he worked in Bell Pins (India’s largest producer of wire-based stationery goods).

Among Chockalingam’s contributions to the Indian print industry has been his vision for building a printing institute in Sivakasi and establishing a natural cluster for the print community. “I am pleased to say that my vision of a print institute in Sivakasi has come true. Now, hundreds of students are studying in the institute and have successfully achieved 100% placement,” Chockalingam had shared with PrintWeek.

In the business of print for over six decades now, Chockalingam and his company Srinivas Fine Arts have received a slew of awards and citations for producing highest quality products for its clients and undertaking social causes. Besides being an ISO 9001:2000, the company has full-fledged, in-house facilities for producing printed products.

The last time the PrintWeek team interacted with him in his Sivakasi factory in 2016, he said, "In spite of playing an important role on the global arena, and the dependence of packaging and book publishing on printing, our industry is still considered as a service sector. Printing needs to be recognised as an industry if it has to compete with the tech-giants and internet companies. We must act quickly. Otherwise, public opinion will shift, and government policy will not favour print."

Prescient words indeed.

Rest in peace, Saar.

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