Gorakhpur:Gita Press is the world's largest publisher of Hindu religious texts. It has so far printed 41.7 crore books. Out of this, 16.21 crore books are of Bhagwat Gita. 11.73 crore Tulsi Das's Ramcharitmanas. There are 2.58 crore Puranas and Upanishads.
Talking about earnings, there was a turnover of Rs 100 crore in 2022. It was only Rs 39 crore in 2016. Every year the turnover of Gita Press increased. Even when the earnings of other publishing houses declined during GST, demonetisation and Covid, the turnover of Gita Press continued to grow.
According to the website, the aim of the institution is to propagate the values of Sanatan Dharma to the general public. Gita Press has recently been announced to be awarded the 'Gandhi Peace Prize' for 2021. It has been a matter of debate ever since. Today in Mega Empire, know the story of becoming the Empire of Gita Press...
Marwari businessman Jaydayal Goenka launches Gita Press
Jaydayan Goenka was a resident of Bankura in West Bengal. Marwari by caste and businessman by work. They were engaged in the trade of cotton, kerosene, textiles and utensils. He was known as an honest businessman from Bihar to Jharkhand. In these cities Jaideel used to go in connection with work and after finishing work he used to do satsang by forming a troupe. There he recited the Gita and discussed it.
So much crowd started to gather for satsang in Kolkata that Jaydayal 's house started to shrink. Then the whole group rented a place on Bansatalla Road in Kolkata itself in 1922. It was named Govind Bhawan.
Govind Bhavan itself became the home of Jayadayal. They stayed there. Gradually his disillusionment with work began to fade and the other end of disillusionment began to form groups to discuss the Gita. He himself had mastered the art of interpreting the Gita.
Printing of books started with a Rs 600 printing machine
Jaideel felt that the correct translation of the Gita was not available in the market. Jayadeva said this in the Satsang. Gorakhpur-based businessmen Ghanshyam Das Jalan and Hanuman Prasad Poddar were present at the satsang.
Ghanshyam Das said that if the press is set up in Gorakhpur, I will handle it. After this, in 1923, the press was started by renting a room in Urdu Bazar for 10 rupees a month. A hand press worth Rs 600 was purchased.
Three years later, in 1926, a house was bought behind Sahibganj for Rs 10,000. Even today this is the headquarters of Geeta Press. Today this place is spread over 2 lakh square feet. The Press occupies 1.45 lakh square feet in the complex and houses and shops occupy the remaining space.
Kalyan Magazine makes Gita Press a talking point
In 1926, the All India Marwari Agrawal Mahasabha was being held in Delhi. Large number of people were present on the occasion. Industrialists Ghanshyam Das Birla and Jamnalal Bajaj were among those present. Both of them were influenced by the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi in those days.
In the meeting, discussions were held on various aspects of Hindu Dharma. Arguments began between the parties. While Jamnalal Bajaj spoke of ending child marriage and the purdah system, his secretary Khemka stressed on preserving the traditions of Hindus.
A few days later, it emerged that Khemka's speech was written by Hanuman Prasad Poddar. Poddar started bringing out a welfare magazine on the issues discussed in the meeting. This is how this magazine, established since 1926, now comes out.
The growing mutual animosity in the country became one of the reasons for the flourishing of the Gita Press
In the book Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, Akshay Mukul says that the success of Gita Press rests on three things:
1. Hindi language as the language of Hindus in the late 19th and early 20th century. At this time, Hindi was growing from a newspaper to a journal and as the language of the people.
2. Gita Press and Kalyan Magazine were giving a new thought to the Marwari community as well as Hindus. Profits had no role in their printing. They were being printed with the aim of saving Sanatan culture.
3. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there was a rift between Hindus and Muslims in the country. With the freedom struggle, a parallel fight had started between the two communities. There were riots in the country. The issue of cow slaughter was gaining momentum in the then United Provinces and Hindi-speaking states like Bihar. Apart from the Congress, people like Madan Mohan Malviya, Purushottam Das Tandon, KM Munshi and Seth Govind Das were supporting the Gita Press.
How is Gita Press able to sell books at affordable prices?
The book, published by Gita Press, is priced at Rs 2. Books in the press are also cheaper than other publications. So the question is, how is this possible? So the answer is raw material.
Gita Press directly procures the raw material for printing the book. This saves a lot of money on infrastructure and transportation costs. Apart from this, Geeta Press sells clothes and medicines through Geeta Textile Department and Geeta Ayurveda Department.