AHMEDABAD: Gujarat might be Mahatma Gandhi's native state but it is 'God's own country' Kerala that has more takers for his autobiography.
According to Navjivan Trust, an Ahmedabad-based publishing house founded by Gandhi, 'The Story of My Experiments With Truth' has sold 8.24 lakh copies in its Malayalam version, the highest for any language after English, while the figure is 6.71 lakh for Gujarati.
The book in Gujarati was published in 1927. The Malayalam version stole a march in terms of sales despite coming into print only in 1997.
Vivek Desai, a managing trustee of the Navijivan Trust, pointed out to Kerala's high literacy rate as the reason for the robust sales of its Malayalam translation. "Moreover, Kerala has a culture of reading. It is there in Gujarat as well but it is higher in Kerala. Schools and colleges in Kerala buy the book in higher numbers," Desai said.
According to data with the trust, the book has sold the most in English, currently at 20.98 lakh copies, followed by Malayalam, and then Tamil with 7.35 lakh copies, while 6.63 lakh Hindi copies were sold. "The book, printed in several languages including Assamese, Odia, Manipuri, Punjabi and Kannada, in all has sold 57.74 lakh copies," the Trust said.
The 500-page autobiography, priced at Rs 80, saw sales of 2,000 copies in Punjabi when it was launched in 2014, while sales of the Manipuri and Sanskrit versions hover around the 3,000 mark each. The trust plans to release the book in Jammu and Kashmir's Dogri and Assam's Bodo languages.
"The autobiography was first published in Dogri in 1968. Only 1,000 copies were printed at that time and none after that. But now the trust has decided to publish it. We will start with 500 copies, which will be available from January," said Navjivan trustee Kapilbhai Rawal.
He added that the Bodo version is currently being worked on and is expected to hit the markets by January next year. Rawal said the trust has decided to launch the autobiography as an audio-book, which can be in the form of a CD or pen drive. "Those who do not have time to read books can listen to audiobooks while travelling to work or in office," he said.
'The Story of My Experiments with Truth' covers Gandhi's life from early childhood to 1921. It was written in weekly installments and published in his journal Navjivan from 1925 to 1929.