Metamorphosing Hindi Publishing, The Aditi Maheshwari Way | MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 21 March 2023 04:39 GMT

Metamorphosing Hindi Publishing, The Aditi Maheshwari Way

(MENAFN- IANS) By Sukant Deepak

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Stressing that management education, and closely observing and learning from the English publishing ecosystem have been instrumental for Aditi Maheshwari in turning-around Vani Prakashan Group, one of the country's oldest and most important publishing houses.

The journey of Vani Prakashan's Executive Director -- from writing letters in English to writers for her father to now publishing major national and international writers in Hindi -- has been about ascertaining that the third generation takes the legacy forward in a modern avatar.

Publishing not just some of the best-known names in Hindi literature, but also major English writers in Hindi, Maheshwari, whose 'Vani Foundation' presents the 'Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award' every year at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), says her international exposure has been instrumental in understanding the fact that that the world functions in a very different way than the Hindi publishing ecosystem.

'I make it a point to visit, spend much time and closely interact with publishers in different languages across the world and try to understand their systems. Their attention to detail, processes, decentralization, and emphasis on the visual aspect of publishing educated me to push for reforms in my organization. I still remember my first trip to a publisher's office in Germany -- I was shocked to see a huge separate room for designers who were using some of the most advanced softwares in the world. That is the time I realised it was paramount to bring changes in Vani -- which like others in the Hindi publishing world, we were dependent on DTP operators to design. Many Indian publishing houses still do not have good designers. Even we get to work on them on a freelance basis. But at least we have realised the indispensability of good designers.'

She, however, says that the editorial system in the Hindi language ecosystem is in a huge mess. 'We do not have the kind of editors we used to. Back in the '70s and '80s, without any personal ambitions, they worked for the author. Now the problem is that they want to supersede the author. Frankly, we all desperately need good editors.'

Talk to her about Vani translating and publishing major international authors in Hindi, and she asserts that the same has opened the young Hindi readership to a wide variety of writers and has helped them find new readership that was reading in Hindi, who want to know the world in their own language. 'Besides, it has encouraged us to talk to the world as a publishing house in a better way as we are constantly looking to expand.' In fact, many of these authors have become a part of the curriculum in educational institutions as most Hindi departments now have Comparative Literature. 'Interesting, now we see post-modern, post-colonist, post-surrealist poetry and new fiction in these departments ever since their translations have been made available in Hindi.'

The 7th 'Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award' was given to Daisy Rockwell for 'Tomb of Sand' written by Geetanjali Shree at the recently concluded JLF. Interestingly, the original Hindi work has not been published by Vani. 'She brought honour to the entire Hindi world. As a foundation, we are absolutely independent. It does not matter who has published the original work. In this case, what is paramount is the fact that Geetanjali Shree has given hope to so many writers.' She adds that translators are lonely beings who raise someone else child as their own and are seldom given credit. 'Believe me, there are some authors who do not even allow us to give the translator's name on the cover or spine...'

Stressing she has major plans to further modernize systems at her organization, Maheshwari however adds, 'But this does not mean that it will override our passion for books or stand as legacy editors. We do not want to be mercenaries working only on the whims of the market. Balance is the key. Some books are extremely important and need to be out in the world, regardless of the sales graph. We can afford to and are willing to keep publishing such books -- something that matters the most.'.

(Sukant Deepak can be reached at )




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