Rise in demand for religious textsRamcharitmanas

Virendra Singh Rawat

The demand for religious and spiritual texts, especially in the backdrop of Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya, has gone up substantially in India.

Gita Press, the Gorakhpur-based publisher of religious texts and treatises, is finding it hard to meet the growing market demand.

The 100-year-old company is overwhelmed, particularly, with the spurt in demand for ‘Ramcharitmanas’, the venerated epic dedicated to Lord Ram authored by medieval poet Goswami Tulsidas.

After the construction of the Lord Ram temple started in August 2020, the demand for the holy tome had begun to rise; it shot up remarkably when the date of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ (consecration) was announced. The consecration ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22.

The iconic, Gita Press publishes 1,800 different types of books in 15 Indian languages apart from English. Annually, it prints nearly 22.5 million copies of an array of religious and spiritual books.

At present, the Press prints nearly 100,000 copies of Ramcharitmanas a month. Yet, it is unable to meet the rising market demand, according to Gita Press manager Lalmani Tewari.

Although, Gita Press uploaded about 500 books on its website for free download, yet it is hard-pressed to cope up with demand.

So far, the uploaded content clocked nearly 1.7 million searches; 225,000 reads; and 68,000 download.

In fact, Gita Press has urged the Yogi Adityanath government for the allotment of 20 acres of land in Gorakhpur for expansion of its operations.

While Gita Press has cumulatively printed 950 million books since inception, it is now targetting to print a total of 2 billion books by 2047.

It offers 24 percent discount to vendors when they buy books in bulk for retail sales. The company, which has a headcount of nearly 600, operates branch offices in different states to serve the local vendors, which number almost 2,500 at present.

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