Gita Press, which was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize 2021 for its commitment to social, economic, and political transformation through nonviolent and other Gandhian techniques, was founded on April 29, 1923, in a house in Gorakhpur for a monthly rent of ten rupees.
After more than a century in the Hindi Bazar region of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, the Gita Press, the world’s largest printer of Hindu sacred literature, currently occupies an area of around two lakh square feet. It currently publishes 1,850 types of books in 15 languages, and has so far published 930 million volumes that include its monthly magazine, ‘Kalyan’.
It currently has 20 branches in India, one in Kathmandu (Nepal), and 48 railway stalls throughout the country. The organisation is comprised of over 2,500 booksellers.
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History of Gita Press – Hindu Texts Publishing Giant
Gita Press, based in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, is the world’s largest publisher of Hindu sacred scriptures. Jai Dayal Goenka, Ghanshyam Das Jalan, and Hanuman Prasad Poddar formed it on April 29, 1923. The goal of the publishing house was to spread the principles of ‘Sanatan Dharma,’ or Hinduism’s enduring truth.
Hanuman Prasad Poddar, one of the founders, was also the long-time editor of Gita Press’ ‘Kalyan’ magazine. The Press purchased a printing equipment for Rs 600 five months after it was founded. The archives contain around 3,500 manuscripts.
It is the division of the Govind Bhawan office that was established under the Societies Registration Act of 1860, which is now known as the West Bengal Societies Act of 1960. The Publishing house has printed over 41.7 crore volumes, according to its official website. These books are accessible in 14 languages, including Marathi, Gujarati, Odia, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Nepali, English, Bangla, Tamil, Assamese, and Malayalam, in addition to Hindi.
The Press has printed about 16.21 crore copies of the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita so far. Aside from that, it has printed 11.73 crore Tulsidas compositions and 2.68 crore copies of Puranas and Upanishads’.
The Governing Council (Trust Board) manages this institution, according to the Gita Press website. The Publishers does not solicit donations or make money through advertising. All of its expenses are covered by individuals and companies that sell low-cost printing supplies.
Gita Press Printing also entails
Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, Ramcharitman, Ramayana, Puranas, and Upanishads are among the Hindu sacred scriptures published by Gita Press. Aside from these, books are published by the Press to help children learn more about religion. This organisation has so far published over 11 million children’s books. They also publishes a monthly magazine called ‘Kalyan’. The magazine discusses topics such as dedication, wisdom, yoga, religion, quietness, and spirituality. A special issue covering a specific subject or scripture is also published each year.
The Central Government established the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995. This award is given every year as a reminder of Mahatma Gandhi’s beliefs. The prize recipient does not have to be an Indian or an Indian entity. This award includes a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, a citation, and a plaque. This award has been given to organisations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ramakrishna Mission, Gramin Bank of Bangladesh, Vivekananda Kendra, Akshaya Patra, Ekal Abhiyan Trust, and Sulabh International.
The Recent Political Controvery
The publisher was recently embroiled in a controversy after senior Congress lawmaker Jairam Ramesh lambasted the Union government for awarding the Gandhi Peace Prize 2021 to the publishing house, calling the decision a “travesty.” Ramesh took to Twitter to attack the decision, claiming that granting the Gandhi Peace Prize 2021 to Gita Press is akin to ‘awarding Savarkar and Godse’.
The Congress leader also posted the cover page of Akshaya Mukul’s book, ‘Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India,’ arguing that the author “unearths the stormy relations it had with the Mahatma and the running battles it carried on with him on his political, religious, and social agenda.”