New generation working hand in hand with the older one; it’s an excellent meet of new technology with the experienced and tried methods in publishing… Marathi Publishing is indeed coming of age. Abhishek Jakhade, manager rights - Padmagandha Prakashan, focuses more on the changing trends in Marathi Publishing industry. The golden 60s…
Marathi publishing industry has changed significantly since 1960. Not only did it flourish in its expanse but, the period saw some excellent authors, poets, critics, editors and the rise of many literary movements. In a way the 60s laid the foundation of the golden era in Marathi publishing industry. The liberation of Maharashtra as an independent Marathi speaking state on May 01, 1960 lead to many constructive programmes and policies by the government to deepen the sentiments of public towards arts, culture and literature. This, along with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism, various movements like the Dalit Movement, the Samyunkta Movement and other social reforms led to reforms in all arts and cultural fields. In the same period, poets like BS Mardhekar gave a taste of new age literature - Navasahitya. All this meant that Marathi literature and in turn Marathi publishing industry was flourishing.
The publishing houses that were started in this period did an excellent job in patronizing and enhancing Marathi literature. This period also saw the rise of the most important and influential publishers and editors in Marathi language. SP Bhagwat of Mouj Prakashan Gruha, Bhagwat, a professor, set the path for many publishers of today. His keen eye for details gave Marathi many important books. He expertly picked and guided talented people like PB Bhave Vyankatesh Madgulkar, Gangadhar Gadgil, Arvind Gokhale, etc. later went on to establish themselves as the most important authors in Marathi literature. On the same levels, Continental Prakashan, Popular Prakashan, Majestic Prakashan set the foundation of professional publishing houses. It can be noted as a fact that all of these publishers were very experimentative. This led to rise of many literary movements in this era – Gandhivaad or Gandhism, Exhistentialism, Modernism, Post-modernism, Post-colonialism, dalit literature, rural literature, etc.
Marathi literature is blessed with two very unique features that are not seen in any other language publishing. Firstly, the Diwali special literary magazines and secondly the All India Marathi Literary Meet. Today more than 400 Diwali magazines are published in Marathi during the festive season of Diwali. This creates an environment of excitement and literary craving. Diwali special magazines are a great platform for upcoming authors, poets, artists etc. Many editors feel more freedom in experimenting with literary forms through these magazines. Many literary movements were strengthened by these magazines. Many popular novels, stories, articles, essays were first published in Diwali special magazines before being published separately in book form.
While, the All India Literary Meet is organized for 3-4 days every year in different cities of Maharashtra. Various seminars, events, lectures etc are held during this event. Book exhibition is also another important part of this Meet. Sales turnover of about Rs 3-4 crore take place during this time.
The literary venues…
Although in general, last four decades of the century did see excellent activities in the field of publishing, most of these centered in Pune and Mumbai. Pune has always been the cultural hub and Mumbai the economic centre. However the rise of the new century saw these activities culminate to other parts of Maharashtra. Many literary activities are happening in cities like Kolhapur, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Aurangabad, Thane and Ratnagiri. Books exhibitions, literary programmes, book release functions, seminar by authors are arranged by many small societies working in these cities. This is indeed helping create a literary environment in other cities.
However, all is not well in Marathi publishing. Like all regional languages, Marathi and Marathi language publishing face tough hurdles. There are very few literary magazines that are published. Literary magazines have always been an important part in any language literature. Their absence has created a void. Fast pace life means people buy books but do not read them. Some publishing houses tend to malpractices like high printed prices and illogical discounts. Such publishing houses also publish books that have very little literary value. This is hampering the business and reputation of the book industry.
The silver lining…
Despite all odds, many publishers have carried their work with determination. A second or third generation of earlier mentioned publishing houses is still working. New publishing houses with different visions have started. In general, all of these have kept the tradition of experimenting with various literary forms and movements. Mouj Prakashan, Majestic Prakashan, Granthali, Lokvangmaygruha (all Mumbai), Continental Prakashan, Rajhans Prakashan, Padmagandha Prakashan, Utkarsha Prakashan, Mehta Publishing House, Manovikas Prakashan, Jyotsna Prakashan, Diamond Publications (all Pune) Saket Prakashan, Swaroop Prakashan, Janashakti Vachak Chalwal (Aurangabad) Sahitya Prasar, Sachin, Akanksha (Nagpur) and about 150 similar publishing houses are carrying forward the baton of enhancing Marathi literature.
Even booksellers are getting professional. We get to see lot of book malls in cities like Pune, Kolhapur, Mumbai, Nashik etc. Akshardhara has established a very beautiful mall in Pune. For a fanatic book reader it is a must see. Its interiors, furnishing etc are very attractive. Shubham Sahitya, Patil enterprises, Sahityaseva, hold exhibitions throughout the year in different places of Maharashtra. Many such experiments and professionalism in their activities has increased the counter sales.
Talking specifically of today, the Marathi literary field and the industry lies in the hands of young professionals working with the experienced publishers. They have by far maintained a good balance in the tradition and their improved outlook towards technology and world. Professional attitude, good business acumen, striving for creativity etc has seen publication of excellent literature. While looking at it as a profession they are striving hard to maintain the cultural values of publishing industry. This has also brought in the new technology of e-books and e-marketing. Encyclopedias, research, autobiographies and biographies informative books, self help and religious books are more popular today. Readers also like translated books. In general, non-fiction is sold more than fiction.
On a concluding note…
All in all, Marathi publishing industry is in the mode of transition today. Not only it is looking forward to new technology but many publishing houses themselves are going into transition with the new generation coming to the fore and making their presence felt. Rohan, Padmagandha and Mehta have now expanded their scope towards English literature as well. It will not be a surprise if multilingual publishing houses are new faces of Marathi publishing industry.
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