Gita Press: A Century Of Serving The Cause Of Sanatana Dharma
It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to claim that every Hindu household in the country, irrespective of differences of region, sect, school of thought, language, has one common object in their space of worship — a copy of either the Bhagawad Gita, the Bhagavatam, a pocket book of or other religious scriptures from Gita Press, Gorakhpur (GPG).
It has been 99 years since the publishing house began its modest operations in the land of Gorakhnath. It has produced countless religious texts and ensured they reach anyone who seeks them — and at unimaginably affordable prices.
In its 100th year, the institution which is more of a shrine to its visitors is proud of keeping the tradition alive despite the hurdles it faced. From a strike few years ago to rumours of a shutdown owing to a financial crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic, to hit jobs by authors who painted it in colours of hate and bigotry, the mammoth book house has stood tall and says it owes it to the ideals and principles that guide its running.
When we visited the press in February this year, we were given a detailed tour of this premises that has produced countless books — from as small as a matchbox (which is the highest selling) to as large as an A4 sheet that is used for community readings, from a brief inscription of the Hanuman Chalisa to a elaborate exposition of the Bhagavatam, from the illustrated English book for children on Ramlalla, to the simplified yet detailed Durga Saptashati. The large store opposite the press that is a retail counter for the books is a shopper’s delight for the spiritually inclined.
The dwar or the aesthetically appealing entrance painted in a multitude of colours, the Partha Sarthi model in a glass case, the name of gods painted on its pillars, has come to stand for the institution and its dharmic pursuits and draw tourists to pause for a moment and pay it their due respect. As two large framed paintings at the entry point explain, various gods and their ‘ayudhs’ and key pilgrim centres find space in the design.
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