SC Sethi: a legend in his life time

SC Sethi has remained President of FPBAI unopposed for 15 times and has again been elected as President recently. GS Jolly shares more about this publishing icon.

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At its 64th Annual General Meeting, Federation of Publishers and Booksellers Association of India (FPBAI) recently elected Subhash Sethi as its president, which is a unique distinction for an individual to head a professional all India body for 15th time.The Federation has always enjoyed the support and cooperation of the very dynamic Sethi who believes the publishing industry has given him much and it is his duty to pay back and do something memorable for the industry.

He has been gifted by nature the inborn qualities of clairvoyance, enthusiasm, dedication and zeal to grow for himself and also to assist fellow human beings with utmost compassion and help them grow simultaneously. He has to his credit an illustrious career of 50 years in the publishing industry. He passed through innumerable phases of agony and ecstasy, thereby constituting a fortress for his family, friends and himself from the strong bricks of his experience.

Sethi joined the publishing industry in 1967. After having worked with some of India’s leading publishers, Sethi ran his own company, Indiana Publishing House, and its imprint Cross Land Books. Indiana has a list of over 700 titles covering various areas of interest, a big achievement for a young company. He has also authored 20 bestselling books on variety of subjects and has served the Delhi State Booksellers’ & Publishers’ Association (DSBPA).

Sethi’s diligence cost him his health, yet his physical limitations could never impede his growth as a publisher. He did not want to let the experiences go unshared and unutilized. With the view he compiled the creamy layer of vast experience in the shape of a book titled Pages from my Life to provide stimuli, information and learning of trade for the benefit of the young generation entering the publishing industry, which may prove to be a Magna Carta for young entrepreneurs of book trade.

Sethi narrated that the Federation office used to be in a very small, shabby and dilapidated ranted accommodation unworthy the office of a renowned apex body. Realizing the importance of a self-sustained state-of-the-art office of Federation, Sethi moved the idea of having a decent office for Federation. In the year 1998, when Bhupinder Chowdhri was the President of FPBAI with Raj Mirchandani as Secretary, Sethi did not hold any post in the Federation that year, he suggested Bhupinder Chowdhri to go to Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai for raising funds. Chowdhri accepted his proposal and visited the three metropolitan cities and the result of Sethi’s dynamic leadership quality, they were able to open an office for the Federation.

SC Sethi has remained President unopposed for 15 times and has again been elected as President. He feels himself indebted to industry and his ‘prompters’, who encouraged him to prove his acumen in the field and lead the fraternity members.

FPBAI in retrospect

At the time India attained Independence, publishing and book selling stood confronted with complex problems peculiar to any developing industry. Some far-sighted and public-spirited individuals like late Sital H Primlani in the book industry felt that despite existence of local associations in several parts of the country, time had come for setting up an all India platform for taking concerted action to cope with the growing needs of this vital industry. This was the genesis of an important publishers and booksellers conference held in Delhi in January 1953, which paved the way for the setting up of FPBAI. Right from its inception, the Federation has maintained its federal character with affiliation of Regional Associations from various states in the country.

The Federation as an apex body recognizes its role in ensuring the development of publishing in English, Hindi and all other Indian languages. It provides forum for various segments of book industry in the country to discuss their problems at national and international levels and looks after the interests of its members by taking active part in all meetings with the Government and concerned professional bodies

Lifetime Achievement and Golden Awards

As a token of recognition and appreciation, the Federation gave away Life Time Achievement Awards to JL Kumar of Anmol Publications and Baldev Verma of India book distributors. The Federation also gave awards to those member publishers who have spent 50 years in the service of book industry. SK Ghai of Sterling Publishers, AS Chowdhry of Goodwill Books, Vinod Kapoor of Bhartiya Sahitya Bhavana were among the Golden Award recipients. Sethi was given a standing ovation for getting the Golden Award for his services to the book industry for more than fifty years.

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