PubliCon 2018: Publishing in Indian Languages

FICCI organized “PubliCon 2018” with the theme “Publishing in Indian Languages” on December 6, 2018 at FICCI, New Delhi. The programme witnessed discussions on the creation of original content in Indian languages, translation opportunities for publishers, promotion of Indian languages across globe and use of artificial intelligence in translation of Indian languages.


At PubliCon 2018, Dr Kumar Vishwas, Poet, Author, Performer & Motivational Speaker said that the readers were the link between publishers and writers and the onus of what is to be read should be left to the judgement of the readers. He said that it was the responsibility of publishers to seek out creative writers who deal with contemporary issues. “Creativity is all pervasive and I firmly believe that there is still a great respect for the written word,” he said.

Dr Vishwas said that books and their authors bring about a semblance of balance in society which was being deluged with news and interpretation that swings from creating hope to despair in the social order. Book-reading, he said, was not fading. In fact, it was only through books that the imagination of the reader gets free play and therefore the onus of creating ‘Kalpanasheelta’ rests on independent publishers.

Sandip Somany, President- Elect, FICCI and Vice Chairman & Managing Director, HSIL Ltd., said that with the literacy rate at 74%, India has more than 900 million readers permeating the whole gamut of languages and regions with disparate reading needs and aspirations. “This opened up a wide opportunity for the publishing industry in India for content creation and dissemination. The print and digital publishing will both have to complement one another to meet the objectives of books and reading materials for all,” he added.

He said that the indulgence in localisation and language computing made business sense for technology companies, platform makers, OEMs and online publishers. Quoting a Google and KPMG India report of April 2017, Somany said that there were 234 million Indian language internet users in 2016 and only 175 million English users and the gap between the two groups was expected to grow. Nine out of 10 new internet users between 2016 and 2021 will use local languages, he added.

“Within the Indian languages, Hindi controls about 35% of the market, Malayalam 8%, Bengali 6%, Marathi 4% and others 47%. There is a rich literature in these respective languages, which is consumed by their dedicated consumers. There is huge opportunity for publishers to venture into publishing in these languages, and also look at translating some of the work in to English and other languages to reach out to wider audience,” added Sandip.

While, Ratnesh Jha, Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and Managing Director, Cambridge University Press, said that there was a need for all segments of the publishing industry to come together in an organised manner and recognize the value of content creation. He advocated leveraging of technology to create value for the readers in local languages in view of the fact that the medium of instruction at the primary school level was largely in local languages.

Karthika V.K., Co-Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and Publisher, Westland Publications Pvt. Ltd., said that publishers did not want to be gatekeepers but sought a role for themselves as facilitators. Language, she said was not a barrier any more. “This was evidenced by comments in local languages on conversations in the social media,” she said.

Session 1: Publishing in Indian Languages

Sumeet Gupta, Sandip Somany, Dr. Kumar Vishwas, Ratnesh Jha, Karthika V. K.
Sumeet Gupta, Sandip Somany, Dr. Kumar Vishwas, Ratnesh Jha, Karthika V. K.

A Panel on “Publishing in Indian Languages” was moderated by Dr. K. Sreenivasarao, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Other speakers were Ravi DeeCee, CEO, DC Books, Sugata Ghosh, Director – Academic, Oxford University Press India, Yogesh Dashrath, Country Manager, India, Storytel, Sweden A B and Dinesh Sinha, Executive Editor, Ratna Books. The panel highlighted on the point that Public Private Partnership (PPP) should exist to facilitate publishing in regional languages.

Session 2: Hindustan Ki Kahaaniyan

Advaita Kala, Manisha Chaudhry, Rituparna Ghosh
Advaita Kala, Manisha Chaudhry, Rituparna Ghosh

An in-conversation session on “Hindustan Ki Kahaaniyan” was conducted by Manisha Chaudhry, Director – Publishing, Manan Books. Other speakers included Advaita Kala, Author and Columnist and Rituparna Ghosh, Founder & Story Genie, Your Story Bag.

Session 3: Translating for children in Indian languages

Swaha Sahoo and Rajesh Khar
Swaha Sahoo and Rajesh Khar

An in-conversation session on “Translating for Children in Indian Languages” was conducted between Swaha Sahoo, Head – Parag Initiatives, Tata Trust and Rajesh Khar, Language Editor, Pratham Books.

Session 4: Artificial Intelligence for translation of Indian languages

Balendu Sharma, Preeti Hingorani, Leena Singh, Amit Dubey
Balendu Sharma, Preeti Hingorani, Leena Singh, Amit Dubey

A panel on “Artificial Intelligence for Translation of Indian Languages” was moderated by Preeti Hingorani, Vice President, Brand & PR, Cambridge University Press, India. Other speakers were Balendu Sharma, Director- Localization and Accessibility, Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd., Leena Singh, Head of Publishing, Cambridge University Press and Amit Dubey, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Tech Mahindra. The session highlighted on the use of artificial intelligence for Translation of Indian Languages. Google has recently launched a platform “Navlekha”. Its new initiative to bring India’s 135,000 Indic language publications online hassle-free.

Session 5: Hindi Language Publishing

Alind Maheshwari, Aditi Maheshwari, Surendra Sharma, Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Shailesh Bharatwasi, Neeta Gupta
Alind Maheshwari, Aditi Maheshwari, Surendra Sharma, Baldeo Bhai Sharma,
Shailesh Bharatwasi, Neeta Gupta

A panel on “Hindi Language Publishing” was moderated by Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman, National Book Trust, India, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India. A special address was delivered by Surendra Sharma, Renowned Hindi Poet. Other speakers of the session were Aditi Maheshwari, Director-Copyrights & Translation, Vani Prakashan, Neeta Gupta, Publisher, Yatra Books, Alind Maheshwari, Director, Rajkamal Prakashan Pvt. Ltd. and Shailesh Bharatwasi, Publisher, Hind Yugm. The discussion highlighted on the problems faced by Hindi language publishers. Relevant content has been published for young generation.

Session 6: Impact of Bhasha on Writing

Vineet Bajpai, Lipika Bhushan, Prachand Praveer
Vineet Bajpai, Lipika Bhushan, Prachand Praveer

An in-conversation session on “Impact of Bhasha on Writing” was conducted by Lipika Bhushan, Chief Marketing Consultant, MarketMyBook. Other speakers were Vineet Bajpai, Author and CEO & Entrepreneur, Magnon Solutions and Magnon Interactive and Prachand Praveer, Author. It highlighted on some key points such as how the books should be written for common people.

Session 7: The LIC Story: Making of India’s Best-Known Brand

Book Release: The LIC Story: Making of India’s Best-Known Brand
Book Release: The LIC Story: Making of India’s Best-Known Brand

A panel on “The LIC Story: Making of India’s Best-Known Brand” was moderated by Prof (Dr.) Abhijit Chattoraj, Chairperson – PGDM-IBM; BIMTECH. Kamalji Sahay, Author, Columnist, Former MD & CEO- SUD Life & Former ED-LIC launched his book titled “The LIC Story: Making of India’s Best-Known Brand”. Through his book, Sahay discusses on the way the LIC functions efficiently, how it keeps growing and the process through which brand has been made. Other speakers present were J. P. Sharma, Retired Deputy Zonal Manager, LIC and Prof. Manoj Pandey, Associate Professor, BIMTECH.

The event was attended by over 300 from various Government agencies, regional associations, libraries, CXOs from publishing, authors, illustrators, publishing service providers, marketing managers, and aspiring publishing professionals.

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