Vernacular readers are not declining: Poet Shankha Ghosh
Kolkata: Eminent Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh has said it is incorrect to assume that the number of vernacular readers is on the decline if one takes into account the rise in publishers in regional languages.
Ghosh, the recipient of Jnanpith Award 2016 was speaking at the launch of eight Bengali language books by Oxford University Press (OUP) as part of its Indian language publishing programme.
"While I often hear that the number of readers of Bengali books is going down, I fail to understand how we find new publishers coming to the field and new titles coming out every year," Ghosh said on Monday.
"This perhaps makes it apparent that whatever is perceived is not true and there are a large number of readers who are more addicted to books in their mother tongue than English, even if some of them like me are equally comfortable with English, " the Sahitya Akademi award and Padma Bhushan recipient said.
OUP Director, Global Academic Publishing, Sugata Ghosh said with the launching of eight new Bengali titles, the publication house would now be able to reach out more to a greater number of readers. "In the past, through our English publications, we could reach out to 10 per cent of the total Indian readers and now we think we can penetrate to other areas," he said. Ghosh said that under OUP's new publishing programme, books will be published in major Indian languages, beginning with Hindi and Bengali. Some of the books under the new programme include India s Ancient Past by R S Sharma, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas by Romila Thapar and India s Foreign Policy by Sumit Ganguly in Hindi and History of South India: From Prehistoric times to the Fall of Vijayanagar by Nilakanta Sastri, Democracy and Its Institutions by Andr B teille, and Defining Moments in Bengal, 1920 47 by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya in Bengali.