The man who loved print

Surinder Khurana – 1 September 1947 – 18 November 2018

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Born just at the time of the country’s independence, Surinder Khurana graduated from Delhi University, and the Northern Regional Institute of Printing Technology in Allahabad. Print was his first and last love. He admired print in every form and worked to promote the print industry throughout his life.

Khurana-ji attended the Pressman’s Course at the Heidelberg Ganges Print Institute, Mumbai and participated in an All India Educational Tour visiting large printers across India in 1966. This was followed by in-plant training and work in the photo-typesetting and composition department of Thomson Press India in Faridabad from 1967 to 1969.

He went to work for an advertising agency as a production assistant in 1969 and left four years later as its production manager to become the co-founder of a print production agency. Working for various global and national accounts, he was conferred the National Award for Excellence in Printing and Designing from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

In 1996, he founded the bi-monthly Print & Publishing trade journal, one of the first privately owned industry publications that continues to be published today by the S Publishing company that he founded and that is run today by his son, Sonal Khurana.

The S Media group thrived with Khurana-ji starting up a spate of journals helped by his son and his daughter-in-law Shweta. Sign & Graphics was established in 2000, followed by All About Newspapers in 2005. All About Book Publishing was established in 2010. All of these have become leading industry journals. Today, the S Media Group has seven publications including, Print & Publishing, Sign & Graphics, All About Newspapers, All About Book Publishing, Dogs & Pups, The Progressive School, and The Progressive Teacher.

Surinder Khurana actively engaged with educational institutions and specifically with the printing schools and institutes in Northern India. On the board of several printing and packaging institutes, he was deeply involved in the development of diploma and degree courses so that they could be more responsive to technology change and to the needs of a fast-evolving industry.

As a leader of the print community, Khurana-ji was a pillar of strength for printers with whom he shared his knowledge and ideas. For his family he was the builder who gave encouragement. Modest, calm and serene, he would only smile knowingly when discussing some of the foibles and shortcomings of our industry. He always managed to find the silver lining behind the darkest cloud. With a disarmingly infectious smile, he made friends easily.

It was an honor to travel with Khurana-ji as unofficial and unelected representatives of an industry that was growing and evolving – to try and present a picture of both the constraints and the aspirations of an industry’s hunger for technology. Travelling with him always meant long walks and explorations of new neighborhoods – in everything we saw, we saw only the prosperity of print.

Khurana-ji’s wife Savitri died earlier this year. As many in the industry knew, he had been ill for the past three years but he was looked after with great fortitude by his wife, his daughter-in-law Shweta, his daughter Bhavna and his son Sonal who has, in the past eighteen years, ably assisted him in growing the publishing business. Perhaps Surinder Khurana’s gentleness, generosity and kindness are the legacy that is most apparent in the institution and the family he leaves behind.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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