Sunday, September 19, 2010

FOUR GENERATIONS OF A FAMILY THAT BROUGHT THE PRINTING INDUSTRY TO INDIA!

Did you know that the first indigenous Printing press - Quality Printers, and the first Hot Metal Type Foundry, Gujarati Tupe Foundry at Gaiwadi, Girgaon, Mumbai were started by Manilal Modi in the year 1893.

I believe a majority of you guys are aware of only Gutenberg and Hiedelberg as all the printing magazines around the globe only talk about them, but none of our own kith and kin who were instrumental in starting this industry here which produces one of the best prints at a miniscule price available at the other end of the globe. So here’s presenting our piece of Indian print history…

While researching on the Indian printing industry, I came across Pinak Modi (the son of Narendra Modi) who dabbled with Advertising till a decade and half back. Now also an actor and a writer, he belongs to the one of the founding printing families of India. Though he is not into printing, he did quite a bit of work in the Print Media, both as a journalist as well as, as a Publisher of a Regional Magazine 'KAAL, Tasmai Namah'. So here goes the story…

It was the envisionary Chhaganlal Thakordas Modi who envisioned the need for bringing and indigenizing Printing and also saw the need for a proper research into Indian languages and Scripts so as to enable making of the printing types possible. His research inspired his son Manilal Modi to study Indian Languages and he was the one who found that every letter in the Devnagari Alphabet was assigned to a Swaroop of Maha Saraswati. He compiled these to form the modern day Devnagari Type Forms.....!

Continuing in his research to contribute to the print industry in a big way, Manilal Modi even traveled to China in the year 1891 to learn the technology and after returning to India developed the technology indigenously! His son Surendra Modi carried on this tradition of acquiring knowledge to give better printing facilities to the Indian industry that includes the Monotype and Linotype form of Casting Hot Metal Printing Types. The kid in the picture is Narendra Modi, who in his own way contributed to the expansion of the Printing Industry in India.

It might be interesting to note that, it was Chaganlal Modi's brother, Maganlal Thakordas Modi who started the famous M. S. University of Baroda for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad. He also donated his own residence and its surrounding lands to M.T.B. College of Surat (M.T.B = Maganlal Thakordas Balmukunddas).

A rare family picture in Black & White, it has (From Left to Right) Surendra Manilal Modi, Chhaganlal Thakordas Modi and Manilal Chhaganlal Modi. The kid in the picture is Narendra Surendra Modi. The colour picture is of Pinak Modi..