Arun Mehta, born in September 1933, passed away on 7 July 2022 in Mumbai. Mehta is fondly remembered by the entire printing industry as a doer in the family printing and publishing business and as an industry builder. Together with his uncle GU Mehta, he was one of the key early members of the Bombay Master Printers Association and the All India Federation of Master Printers in the early sixties. He was, at times, reluctantly thrust into leadership roles of the industry associations – the BMPA and then the AIFMP, for which he thought he was too young and inexperienced.
Those who had the good fortune to know Mehta have many excellent stories about him and his family legacy. Amongst his major contributions to the Indian print industry was the conception of the Pamex printing equipment and technology exhibition which he envisioned as taking place around the country. Without knowing where he could hold it in Bombay, he undertook to bring the event to the city and convinced the Nehru Centre to hold it there, together with an amazing technical conference fully supported by his colleagues.
Arun Mehta was the first and for many years, practically the only Indian printer who saw the importance of investing in research about the widespread and diverse Indian printing industry, inducing the BMPA to invest in two research surveys. Although he saw the importance of this work requiring continuous updating, he was unable to renew it after the second survey and said, “It died a natural death.”
Another of Arun Mehta’s legacies was his encouragement of art, ideas, and culture, which is part and parcel of the traditions of Vakils as a printer and publisher. This tradition continues and is embodied by his wife Sudha and children Bimal Mehta and Sangeeta Bhansali. What better legacy than to have a family that believes in tolerance, straight-forward business, and the ideals of nation-building?
And to leave a liberally educated next generation – able to understand technology to evolve the print and publishing businesses – and contribute to industry and society. All this – quietly, humbly, like Arun Mehta.