Hanumantha Rao, the founder of Pragati Offset who passed away peacefully on the 2nd of March, 2015 was a man who grew from grass root level and became a legend in his lifetime leaving behind a legacy for his enterprise to excel in print and for generations to follow! The inertia for growth that originated with inception of the enterprise by him, has not only been carried forward by his two sons and grandchildren but has actually received further impetus from their passionate dedication to print. When I visited their home in 2011, it was indeed a very warm and eye opening experience for me. It was an ideal situation, with family bonding and respecting traditions. There, I found the true meaning for, “Athithi Devo Bhava”(The guest is like GOD), this; from the respect that the family bestowed upon me and my son Pawan that evening. I too come from family owned business but this was class! Four generations in the same room in perfect unison. Hanumantha Rao’s grand children were playing around while I enjoyed the evening with him, my friend; his son Narendra Paruchuri and his grand children. Hanumantha Rao took immense pleasure in telling me that his great grand children accompanied him to the press some afternoons after school. This was amazing foresight this man had, motivating the fourth generation as well. I am always sure that this enterprise will stay indebted to its founder in laying the path to continuous growth and excellence by personal indulgence!
On the 1st of September 1962, Hanumantha Rao who after completing his BA Hons. (philosophy), a short stint as a journalist with Visala Andhra and five years as manager of Sarathi Cine Studios also doing small roles in films out of which some even with the late N T RamaRao, set up a small printing press with one treadle press and three workers. The three men that he employed were a binder, a composer and a machine man. Surprising as it may sound two of these men are still associated with his company even after almost 50 years, though only in advisory capacity.

Hanumantha Rao had some basic knowledge of printing from his time spent at printing detective novels written by his friend Narayana Rao in Chennai. Also he was a quick learner and does not shy from saying that he learnt and grasped well from his otherwise trained workers. He fondly remembers the first job he printed was a folder with Ganesha on it! The first big order that came his way was the 1973 voters list. Thereafter it was always the way ahead to be traversed and soon he bought his first offset press, a second hand single colour OM-4 Russian Offset Press. He vowed to be a quality producer and set standards that would be the way forward for his company. The foundation had been laid and the journey into excellence in printing had begun. It was time to induct more working hands in this business.

The ensuing generations of this family are not resting on their laurels, they strive hard to retain the saga at Pragati, “Winning awards for print excellence, is a way of life for them!”


Author: Harveer Sahni, Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi March 2015