Talking about Amritsar and things one can surely visit and see are some of the historic In our episode 07 of Amritsar 60, we discussed in detail about one of the hidden gems of the city – the Ram Bagh Gate which boasts of its rich and affluent historic past, the magnificence of the architecture and the grandeur of the lives lived by emperors or kings of the land. Today, once again we are going to unfurl some of the chapters from our historic documents and takes you back to the memory lane from where the city has seen an age of print media. Yes, we are talking about the establishment of the first printing press of the town – the Municipal Printing Press, which is centuries-old but still is running successfully and producing the government documents to date.
We have read that in the close vicinity of the Ram Bagh Gate, there stood a generations-old printing press, which was established in 1930 by Britishers. In order to print documents, they started up this printing press for which the printing machines were imported from the USA at that time. There are two old machines, which were imported from England. Initially, these machines used to print in all three languages – Hindi, English, and Punjabi as all these were the prevalent languages of the state. But nowadays only two languages are being used which are English and Punjabi and believe us still those machines are in the best conditions and working to print many manual documents of Municipal Corporations like bills, payslips, and certain books, tracts, and awareness material.
Being in an era where technology was not so advance as it is nowadays, so all these machines are operated manually. However, certain technical faults have risen in the machine time and again but even they were very minor and were repaired at a comfortable cost and time. The labor at the printing press are all old and elderly people who are believed to be the immediate generations of the patrons of the press. They seemed to be very friendly with the environment there and are pro in their work. But now gradually these people are also retiring from their jobs and there are no such people who would manually operate the machines and show some interest. If this would be the scenario, how this printing press will remain operational.
Though with the emergence of new modern technologies this manual system has got outdated, but still these machines are running manually in the printing press and are used to publish their documents. Even earlier some Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) used to offer some special courses on printing and composing but now there are no such courses as offset printing has replaced these old technologies.
With the renovation of Ram Bagh Entry or deodhi and the building by the Municipal Corporation under the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), a new face is given to these hidden gems of the city and installed various boards. Due to its historic significance tourists often visit and see the manual functioning of composing and press. Through these series, we also want that this should be known to many of our world travelers.