Invisible India!

From the time that SwB started up, some four years ago, one issue that we saw time and again was the relative invisibility of many Indian publishers. Many books, many of good quality, but still, either not available easily or otherwise not "out there".

What can one say about a publisher who has 7600 titles of which 1500 are in print. In addition, 21 journals several of which come out every month. With its own printing press, and sales and distribution outlets in several of the major cities in the country: New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Patna, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Bangalore. And with books on art, history, culture, biography, flora and fauna, children’s literature, science and technology...

To say that the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting deserves to be more visible today is clearly to say little. But the statistics are out there- they publish in a range of languages, brigh out diverse publications including CDs . With a Home Library Scheme that is a great bargain- Life membership for Rs 100! - and with titles that are not just govermental propaganda, it is clear that while their outreach and their efforts are admirable, they need to have a higher impact!

Occasionally- very occasionally- their books get reviewed in major newspapers. One such title is DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA by Naresh Gupta. Writing in The Hindu earlier this week, T Ramakrishnan says " In his book, Naresh Gupta, a widely-respected officer of the Indian Administrative Service, has sought to explain how democracy and human development are inter-related by drawing upon a huge volume of data on a variety of [human development] indices and tapping information from numerous official and media reports.

Starting with the concepts of democracy and human rights, Mr. Gupta has touched upon the Constitutional setting, demographic profile, and different aspects of human development and well-being. He traces the roots of the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) — a concept evolved recently but not widely debated — to Bhutan, and points out that it is essentially a civilisational vision representing non-material values such as living in harmony with nature, social equality, and the spiritual quest for higher levels of being. Elaborating on the broader theme, Mr. Gupta sounds a note of caution that, without bringing in the dimension of spirituality, modern technology will spell destruction. The GNH is a subject that requires to be researched further."

Their Reference Annuals are a must on the reading lists of IAS aspirants since they are comprehensive (over 1250 pages), inexpensive (Rs 345) and contain a wealth of data...
Look for their page on the Scholars website in a few days... And in the meanwhile write to us for any titles that might have crossed your line of vision.