Gorakhpur: Known for providing Hanuman Chalisha and Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta at just Rs 2 and 4 respectively, Gita Press, the world largest printer, publisher and distributor of Hindu religious literature has turned 98.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to find at least one religious book from the Gita press at any Hindu household. The name, Gita Press itself carries a legacy with it.
It is said, Jayadayal Goyandka, the founder of Gita Press wanted to get the holy book Gita printed. After the printed document came, he was saddened to see the poor quality and spelling mistakes in it. This inspired him to have a press house of his own which would publish quality material at a low price. It was then he met Ghanshyam Das Jalan, who helped him in establishing Gita Press.
On April 29, 1923, Gita Press was breathed from a house rented at Rs 10 in the town of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Jayadayal Goyandka (1885-1965), and Ghanshyam Das Jalan, the founders of Gita Press had only one goal, to promote and popularise Gita and the principles of Sanatana Dharma.
They were later joined by Hanuman Prasad Poddar (1892-1971), who served as the founding and lifetime editor of it’s noted magazine Kalyan. Poddar also wrote articles under the pen name Shiv Kalyan.
By March 2019, Gita Press has made available more than 68 crore 28 lakh copies of the holy book Gita, Ramayan, Bhagvat, Durga Saptashati, Puranas, Upnishads, Bhakta-Gathas and other character-building books in Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Nepali, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Assamese, Urdu and Punjabi.
Gita Press’s archives contain over 3,500 manuscripts including over 100 interpretations of Shrimad Bhagwad Gita.
Gita Press is a legacy in itself. Amongst the various publishing houses that started before or during colonial rule, the one that still has people talking, is Gita Press.
Although it started from a small rented room in Gorakhpur, today, it has 22 branches all over the country. With around 70 retail outlets across India, including stalls at many railway stations, Gita Press has continued to survive and thrive. Today, Gita Press has also gone online, pacing with the changing demand and time of the market.