World Book Fair, New Delhi
The last day of the World Book Fair (4–10 February) witnessed a huge rush of buyers. It was a sea of humanity – book-lovers thronged almost every pavilion, looking for books of their choice. What was significant was the sizeable presence of Dalit literature. While almost every stall had Dalit literature, some were devoted exclusively to books on Dalits and Gautam Buddha.
Hall No. 12 at Pragati Maidan was reserved for Hindi publishers. The Gautam Book Centre in the hall drew a huge crowd, mainly of Dalit and OBC readers. Murlidhar Jagpat’s Mahatma Phule: Samajik Kranti Ke Agradoot and Phule’s Gulamgiri were available at the stall. In addition, books on Dalit history, poems of Dalit poets, criticism, varna, caste and Dalit oppression and Brahmanism versus Manuvad were also on sale. Bhagwandas’ autobiography Mein Bhangi Kyon Hoon, Dayanand’s collection of stories Surang and Narayan Apte’s novel Aparichit Chehre found ready buyers. There was a heavy demand for Who Are OBCs, Pichhda Varga Ka Rajnaitik Andolan, Itihas Ke Aaine Mein Dalit-Picchda and Manyavar Kanshi Ram’s Chamcha Yug.
Shanti Swaroop Bauddha of Agrani Prakashan – a leading publisher of books great Bahujan personalities and Buddhist literature – said that the objective of the publishing house is to provide valuable and rare literature at cheap and affordable prices. Aarohi Prakashan’s Mukesh Manas said they were getting a good response. He said that the current issue of the publishing house’s magazine Maghar was centered on Dalit childhood and was drawing a large number of buyers. Alok of Lokmitra Prakashan contends that the quality of the books on criticism of Dalit literary and of stories and poetry collections was quite high.
Puneet, a buyer, said that after visiting the fair, he realised that a large corpus of literature on the communities that were ignored for centuries had now become available. He purchased dozens of books of Dalit literature and was very glad he had attended the fair and planned to return next time.
Published in the March 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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