History of Printing in Manipur

Y. Samarendra Singh / Kh. Krishnan *

In the early days of civilisation man expressed his ideas through signs and for the purpose of communication engraved these signs on slabs of alphabets we used today for our communications of ideas.

After this, it was in the middle of the fifteen century that movable types were invented by Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany and another printer Peter Schoeffer. The first printed sheet from movable type " Judgement Day" was printed by Gutengberg in the year 1444. And one of the first great books printed from movable types was the forty two line Bible, printed about 1456 and attributed to Johannes Gutengberg of Mainz, Germany.

In India printing press came in the year 1556 at Goa then in 1620 the Danish East India Company also starts printing in India. Again printing in India revived only in the early 18th Century.

In Manipur printing press was establish in nineteenth century. The Government press now Directorate of Printing and Stationary, Government of Manipur was established in 29th June 1918 with platen printing machine at Imphal. Churachand printing press and Friends Union Press are the pioneers among the private press during the time.

The 1st Manipur print journal was 'Meitei Chanu'. It was edited by Hijam Irabot Singh in the year 1925-26. In 1933 another paper 'Dainik Manipur' was published under the editorship of Gokulchandra at the Churachand printing press. In 1937, another newspaper 'Manipur Matam' was published from Tarun press.

By the early parts of 1939 a bi-weekly paper 'Manipur Paojel' was launched in Manipur. After this a weekly Megazine 'Praja' was published in the year 1948 one year after India won the freedom. A new chapter of Journalism was witnessed after India won Independence from the British rule.

During 1963 to 1972, there were 2/3 printing technologists in Manipur. They are the pioneers on printing technologists. During 1975 to 1990 more than 20(twenty) Printing technologist are in Manipur. In the year 1984 All Manipur Printing Technologist Association was formed in Manipur and started work to develop in printing.

Screen printing in Manipur established by the association in the year 1991 and started one-month Certificate Course in Screen Printing by the association and produced more than 200 (two hundred) students within 5/6 years. Thus, started screen printing in Manipur.

One exhibition cum seminar (Printex) was organised by the Association in the year 1998 at Imphal, Manipur. After 1990 computerised printing press was established. Letter press printing has gone down slowly. Instead of letter press printing offset printing has developed very fast.

Publishing Industry and Printing Industry can be considered as the Soul and Body. Publishing industry show rapid stride in terms of quantity and ease of production for long run jobs with the adoption of Web Offset Technology in the 90's. Some of the Pioneer in adoption of the Web Offset in Printing are now the leaders of the Manipur's Daily namely Poknapham, Sangai Express etc.

Currently Sangai Offset, the first printer to have four colour sheetfed Offset and one of the leading publishing House have shifted their entire publishing requirement from sheet Offset to Web offset which resulted in a quantum jump in production and finishing.

Pre-Press solution is of paramount importance in Multicolour Offset Printing. Till late 2000's Manipur lack quality pre-press Solution resulting in outflow of Quality Multicolour Print Solution. Some of the early starters like BCPW adopted Computerished Printing and even managed to print acceptable Quality in Multicolour Printing by getting the Pre-Press services like Image setting done from Guwahati.

But majority of the Quality Multicolour commercial print requirements were made from Guwahati and Kolkata. The Scenario changes drastically once Manipur's first CtP was installed by M/s Nest Advertising and Marketing Pvt Ltd. In the year 2011 and also the 2nd Printer to installed a 4 colour sheetfed offset.

CtP changes the entire landscape in Printing Industry of Manipur, be it for Multi-colour Printing or quality Single colour Printing. In a sense an era of self-sufficiency started with the installation of the CtP.

Printing Industry in Manipur has come of age with around 200 (two hundred) private printing presses comprising more than 5-6 Publishing Houses 7-8 Offset Presses with multicolour Printing set up and sufficient no. of CtP and other Post Press services.

Printing is the fast changing technology among the technologies. Instead of offset printing, digital printing and 3D printing is coming up. The rapid strides and technological advancement, reduction in production cost in the Digital Printing is making inroad even in publishing Industry.

In an era where large scale Publishing is replaced by on demand Print and Printing being replaced by e-paper, e-journal and e-Paper, Printing industry is really at the crossroad. For any technological upgradation one has to consider all the aspect of cost, technology, the market and the environment.

On the other hand, with the increase in population and consumers, Packaging Industry is on the rise. Local Industry do provide some packaging requirement to the Printers but for large scale Packaging Printing requirement Manipur has to have big MNC's Company manufacturing various products ranging from FMCG to Fast Moving Electronic Items and Consumer Durable Goods.

Now, Manipur is very developed in printing in comparison with other Northeast States. We have Printing Technologists, digital printing presses and big private firms with high class quality printing with CTP devices and 4 colour sheetfed offset including web machine is a good sign of developments of printing in Manipur.

It will be very useful to organise Seminars, Conferences and Exhibitions very frequently in relation with printing for more development of printing fraternity in future.

(Courtesy : AMPA)

* Y. Samarendra Singh / Kh. Krishnan wrote this article for Imphal Times
Y. Samarendra Singh is Director, Manipur Legislative Assembly and Kh. Krishnan is MD of Nest Advertising & Marketing Pvt. Ltd.
This article was posted on September 20, 2017.

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