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Bringing world to bookshelf

G.V.RAMANA RAO chronicles the effort of Alakananda in bringing classics to the native readers' reach


There are several good ENGLiSH books I want to introduce to Telugu readers Ashok

Photos: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

PUBLICATIONS:The collection of translated works of Alakananda Prachuranalu entices visitors of Ashok Book Centre.

The famous quotation, "Literature flourishes best when it is half a trade and half an art" by William Ralph Inge, an English clergyman and writer, epitomizes the publishing business in the city.

Essays written by a computer scientist, the chronicle of a dying man's last few days, biographies of two exemplary women, various other prominent business, sports, scientific, artistic and philanthropic personalities and the biography of our national song and an assortment of subjects are attracting the interests of Telugu publishers now. Alakananda Prachuranalu, the youngest of Vijayawada's publishing houses, has printed the Telugu translations of 11 books and has announced the publication of another half-a-dozen translations of books including a classic like Romilla Thapar's Penguin History of Early India.

Book seller-cum-publisher

Photos: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Alakananda Prachuranalu is the baby of D.Ashok Kumar, a bookseller who recently took to publishing. Named after his daughter, the publishing house is fast earning a reputation for itself.

Original work

"How I taught my grandmother to read and other stories", a collection of articles written by Infosys Foundation chairperson, Sudha Murthy, that were published in different newspapers was translated into Telugu and published by Alakananda as Ammamma Chaduvu. Eleven articles that were written by the author later were incorporated into Ammamma Chaduvu making it an altogether a new book. Translations of another collection of articles "Wise and Otherwise" by Sudha Murthy have also been published.

Ashok Kumar, an old student of Andhra Loyola College, became a bookseller because of his love for books. After establishing a base in Vijayawada in the form of Ashok Book Centre, he also opened branches in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. He is also an office-bearer and active member of the Vijayawada Book Festival Society which is championing the cause of book reading habit, literary and library movements in Krishna district.

Ashok Kumar says that his entry into publishing was a compulsion. "There are several good books in English that I want to introduce to the Telugu readers. I asked a friend to publish the translation of `Wings of Fire' written by the President of India, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. He published it reluctantly, but today it is one of the hottest selling Telugu books," Ashok Kumar says.

Done well

Translations published by Alakananda have also done exceedingly well. All copies of Ammamma Chaduvu are sold out. Profit does not seem to be a priority at all at Alakananda.

It is classics that Ashok Kumar has been after from the beginning. The first book to be translated was Eknanth Eswaran's Conquest of Mind. The translation of US bestseller "Tuesdays with Morrie" as Morrie tho mangalavaralu is a decision Ashok Kumar made from the heart. "I was touched by the book which I read on one of my journeys and I thought I should publish the translation, he says about this chronicle of a dying man written by America's noted sports writer, Mitch Albom.

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