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Thursday, April 27

Books for all - II

i.e. the other side of the coin.

If you ever get some time, try to find out if there is an office of "Publication Division" in your city and pay it a visit. I bet, you would be surprized. I was when I first went to the Bangalore office in Kendriya Sadan. The whole place is full of books. Some of them are on display while most of them lie in bundles all around, on the top of shelves, in every corner, covered in layers of dust.

Among those books, there aren't many titles that would attract an average reader but there are some which you won't find anywhere else. They publish a series of biographies called "Builders of Modern India". It has biographies of every famous person you may have heard of and some more. They publish a series called "Builders of Modern Indian Literature" in which I found titles like Banbhatt and Bhavbhuti. There are books on famous forts of India, handicrafts of India. There are books on various communities of India. Bounded volumes of speeches of all the Prime Ministers and Presidents of India are also there.

And those books are rotting lying there. Their bindings have gone loose, their pages are yellow. Most of the people don't want to buy them, those who do, don't even know that they exist. Those books are a treasure trove for anybody interested in India and its culture. What's more they sell of peanuts and when I say peanuts, I mean peanuts. I have bought books from the biography series for as low as Rs. 5 and going as high as Rs. 50 max. I have bought the full set of Pt Nehru's speeches spanning 5 thick volumes for Rs 500 (that was at 50% discount).

I am not sure why I am pitching this against the backdrop of the last post. But the fact is that there is very good readable material available within affordable limits but that hardly gets any readership. Some how I also think, english language and high prices and the race to be trendy (refer to the last article) are related. Even apart from Publication division, most of the hindi literature is available within affordable range. The sad thing is there is little contemporary good writing in hindi. Most of what is being written is just an attempt to copy the successful ideas in english. And so the readership in hindi and other languages is going down.

So the idea is that if you keep your eyes and mind open, it is possible to find 10000 (again refer to the article in last post) good, readable books well within your means.

Thus ends the rant !

3 comments:

Jaya said...

Umm.. Banbhatt and Bhavbhuti amongst the builders of *modern* literature?? :)

Anonymous said...

What's the address of this place ?

-Supriyo

abhaya said...

@Jaya: I guess, considering the Sanskrit litreture, you can consider Banbhatt to be pretty modern :)

@Supriyo: It is on the ground floor of the Kendriya Sadan building in Koramanagala 1st Block. Basically coming from Airport Road side, keep going on the Inner Ring Road, past the Surjapur road crossing and you will find Kendriya Sadan building on your left. Ask anyone there.