Thank you for seven wonderful years

I recall a joke in school.

13 May 2015 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Question: Which chemical has the most foul odour?
Answer: History.
This is not a comment on my history teacher in school. She was exemplary.
For one, she introduced me to a contraption called: library. Also, she gifted me a copy of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India.
The times are inauspicious to mention Nehru’s name. But the book is a must read as an exceptional piece of literature. The first Prime Minister of India penned this historical tour de force during his imprisonment in Ahmednagar in 1942–46.
The first three chapters of the book have an autobiographical tenor. While Nehru was in prison, India was reeling from a famine, the Indian National Congress was in disarray with most of its top leadership being arrested; and World War II was raging. 
In that doom and gloom, Nehru weaves a tapestry of solid essays on The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, The Epics, History, Tradition and Myth, and Six Systems of Philosophy.
Nehru is equally comfortable discussing The Destruction of India’s Industry and the Decay of Her Agriculture, The Economic Backwardness of India, and how India becomes for the First Time a Political and Economic Appendage to Another Country. 
Plus there are bio-sketches of Chanakya and Chandra Gupta, Asoka and Akbar, Ramkrishna Paramahamsa and Rabindranath Tagore.
All of this, display Nehru’s studiousness and grasp of the Indian economy.
Today, as we complete seven years of PrintWeek India, I realise, its the Discovery of India that provided a manifesto for what we should do with our tiny B2B magazine.
While it is true that printers in India have a sense of personal history, we are callous about the facts and documentation of these facts. Little wonder that we hardly know anything conclusively about our great printers, the inventors, the entrepreneurs.
We can talk with authority about Gutenberg, Senefelder, Caxton, but we are not even familiar with the names of our desi print superheroes. In the past years, I have sifted through so many articles and notes from all over the country but the authenticity remains doubtful.
It is a painful realisation to know we have a zero sense of our history.
Which is why this seventh anniversary issue is dedicated to print history.
Today, Indian print history is not fashionable, nor does it sell ads in a magazine. But it is important.
Hopefully, one can do a lot more in the months to come.
I’m hopeful. I have always been. 
I picked up a copy of Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition at Delhi airport. 
Five highlights
1. The book contains more than 1000 pages
2. It is priced at Rs 495 and is affordable
3. It is beautifully produced and printed in India
4. The book belongs to the Murty Classical Library of India in association with the Harvard University Press. The foundation has set aside more than five million dollars for this “book project”
5. As a company press release states, “the aim is to publish 500 such classics from all the major Indian languages”
Sur’s Ocean, is a celebration of the poems of a blind Surdas. 
In these heady times of P&L and excel sheets, it’s a good time to pay tribute to this great poet
The sun is Surdas; Tulsidas, the moon
Keshavdas, the stars.
Today’s poets are little more than fireflies
Flickering here and there
Happy reading the seventh anniversary issue; with sincere prayers that the Indian print oeuvre grows...