Guwahati is one of the fastest developing cities in India and a major city in Eastern India. Often referred as “gateway” of North-Eastern region of the country, it also houses a huge book bazaar. Here, GS Jolly brings a few glimpses of this market loaded with books. Guwahati city in Assam has a number of schools and colleges, which provide a great platform for education. The state has excellent English medium schools; Arts, Science, Engineering and Medical Colleges. The recent additions are of Indian Institute of Technology at Guwahati, and the two Central Universities. It is, therefore, but natural that the city has a large number of bookshops.
I happen to visit Guwahati in March as faculty for NBT’s training programme in book publishing. During my short stay, I found that Paan Bazaar, which is the most happening area of the city has a large number of bookshops. NB Enterprise, Baruah Book Agency, Friends Book Stall, Good Books Distributors & Publishers, Book Palace, Jyoti Prakashan are just a few names…in fact there are more than 50 bookshops in that area.
There are about twenty bookshops under one roof, selling text books for all classes and needs. People from neighboring states including Nepal and Bangladesh come to this market complex to buy second hand books. Even foreign travelers visiting Guwahati come to this market in search of books on North East.
Santosh Dey of Kamakhya Mandir Prakashan specializes in school books from eight to tenth class and also publish books under the brand name of Star Book Publications. While, Dhani Ram Bez Baruah of Nobel Book Shop in this Book Bazaar specializes in second hand books and buys back books at 60 percent of the cover price. Geeta Rani Nath of Shivam Books specializes in engineering, commerce, science, art and competition books while Sanatan Kalita of Heritage Bookshop stocks books on STM and, commerce, besides fiction. These establishments source their books from local distributors.
Ghanshyam Ladia, whose great grandparents migrated from Rajasthan more than hundred years ago, is publishing and selling books under the imprint of Bhagwati Prakashan and is also an executive member of All Assam Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Association.
The booksellers who have their shops in this Book Bazaar of Paan Bazaar, Guwahati are enthusiastic about the future of bookselling in the state because of proliferation of schools, colleges and professional institutes in the city.