Publisher Profile: Paramount Books

Paramount Books is a Pakistani academic book publisher currently undergoing an interesting transformation. Best known for its well-respected Paksinat series of English language medical textbooks, Paramount has expanded its scope to publish books on business studies, computer sciences, engineering, social sciences and even children’s literature. It is predominantly an English-language publisher but has recently started releasing titles in Urdu as well – both original publications and translations of English works.

Paramount Books has a venerable history in Pakistan, where it was established in 1948 shortly after the birth of the country. Today it enjoys the status of the country’s leading book publisher and is also one of Pakistan’s most recognisable international exports. Paramount’s professional medical books can be found in universities and doctors surgeries throughout the world. Motilal Books now hold all Paramount titles in our UK stock with quick delivery available.

Paksinat Medical Books

If India is famed internationally for its expertise in engineering and computer sciences, Pakistan enjoys a similar reputation for medical professionals. Many surgeons, GPs and specialists working in the UK and America are of Pakistani origin. The Paramount Books Paksinat impression evolved to serve the needs of Pakistani medical schools as well as international universities. Publications cover every aspect of medicine, including:

  • Family, community and public health medicine
  • Antibiotics and antimicrobial therapies
  • Neonatal medicine
  • Obstetric nursing
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Anaesthesia
  • Radiology
  • Surgical instruments and practices
  • Dermatology
  • Cardiovascular medicine
  • Dentistry and oral pathology
  • Clinical ethics and best practices
  • Neurosurgery
  • Medical nutrition
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Clinical oncology
  • Medical education and teaching methods
  • Anatomy

Many Paramount titles feature on required reading lists for medical students, and others are ‘household names’ among GPs. Quite simply, the contribution of Paksinat authors to contemporary medical knowledge is hard to quantify – it is so deep and far reaching.

Expansion

From its medical foundations, Paramount branched into other scientific publications. These included related fields, such as biology, biotech, chemistry and environmental sciences, but also more distant disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, agricultural management and geology. Paramount soon experienced demand from teachers themselves for succinct guides to help them deliver curricula on a wide range of topics. This was the origin of their popular social sciences series, embracing university level material on art, anthropology, law and journalism – among a host of other topics.

Over the last few years the scope of Paramount Books has expanded even further, with a range of accessible children’s books written in Urdu covering popular sciences, history and Islamic folktales.

Target Audience

The focus of Paramount Books is still primarily academic, but this definition embraces pupils from pre-primary school age right through to postdoctoral, as well as their teachers and lecturers. Most scientific and medical books are technical and replete with detail, so although they may appeal to some general readers, their primary readership are medical professionals and students.

Academic libraries will benefit from stocking publications by Paramount Books, especially those that specialise in medicine. Specialist student bookshops will also find a ready market, as Paramount are known for their great prices compared with western textbook publishers.

Find Out More

At Motilal Books we are privileged to supply the full Paramount Books catalogue at great trade prices to booksellers and institutions around the world. We have over 17,000 English language Indian books currently in stock at our UK warehouse, to which we add over 700 titles each month. To find out more, please download our free e-book: The Guide To Indian Academic Publications or call 01727 761677 to speak with one of our team.

Censorship & Tolerance In Modern India: 10 Banned Books

Censorship & Tolerance In Modern India

Readers who aren’t shy of courting controversy may wish to check out this list of 10 banned books from Indian Publishers. In the UK we are so used to seeing the progressive, secular face of Indian society that it is easy to forget there are still worrying limits to free speech within the country. Censorship is rarely officially sanctioned by government bodies, but universities and publishers are subject to intense pressure from cultural and religious groups who are often sensitive to insult.

The backlash sometimes result in books being withdrawn from libraries, university curriculums and bookshops. Although petitions for books to be banned are sometimes overturned in court, they are also sometimes upheld – and there is a growing list of authors who have been forced into exile stemming from harassment and even death threats.

1) Such A Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry

Set in the context of political upheaval in 1970s Mumbai, Mistry’s 1991 novel was deemed to be anti-Marathi by Aditya Thackeray, leader of the right-wing Shiv Sena political party. Thackeray’s strongly worded campaign against the book led to it being withdrawn from Mumbai University’s English Literature curriculum in 2010. The ban has since been reviewed but remains in place – under fear by the University of its reintroduction sparking disturbances on campus.

2) Shivaji: Hindu King In Islamic India by James Laine

James Laine’s fictional biography of the (historical) 17th century warrior king Shivaji Bhonsle was considered inflammatory by Hindu nationalists in the Mumbai area, who took offence at what they saw as a derogatory portrayal of the king in the novel. The outcry culminated in an attack on the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute by an enraged mob. The state authorities in Maharashtra – west of the Pune-Mumbai area that was the scene of most of the disturbances – banned the novel on the grounds that it ‘promoted social enmity’. This decision was overturned by the Mumbai High Court, although the publisher (Oxford University Press at the time) decided to withdraw the book from the Indian market.

3) Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence by Jaswant Singh

Jaswant Singh’s masterful, if controversial biography of Jinnah was criticised for its portrayal of Indian National Congress leaders Sardar Patel and Nehru. Singh was a leading member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the time, from which he was summarily expelled after the publication of the book! The Gujarat state legislature promptly banned the book, although this was overruled by the state’s High Court in December 2016. [Click here] for a full review of this controversial book elsewhere on our blog.

4) Dwikandita by Taslima Nasrin

Bangladeshi-Swedish poet and human rights activist Taslima Nasrin is no stranger to censorship. Several of her books were banned in her native Bangladesh between 1994 and 2004, but it was only in 2003 that the third volume of her autobiography was outlawed by the Indian state legislature in West Bengal. Her advocacy of women’s rights and freedom of speech were deemed hostile to the Muslim community, who read in her words a criticism of Islam. Although the decision to ban her work was eventually overturned on appeal through the Calcutta High Court, persistent harassment led Nasrin to leave India for voluntary exile in the USA.

5) Chittacobra by Mridula Garg (available in English translation as Banjara Love)

Mridula Garg’s steamy tale of a conservative Indian housewife’s affair with a Scottish missionary led to the author being arrested and charged under the Indian Obscenities Act in 1979. The novel was legally banned for three years and although now available in principle, is still difficult to purchase in India.

6) One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Depictions of free love in the 2010 historical fiction novel One Part Woman drew furious crowds to the streets of Thiruchengode in Madras state for protests which quickly turned violent. Petitions from conservative Tamil religious leaders for the book to be banned were rejected by the Madras High Court. Despite this, Muragan was relentlessly harassed on Facebook, to the extent that he felt compelled to withdraw all copies of the novel from sale and give up his writing career in January 2015. Fortunately Muragan reversed this decision and continues to publish books of poetry.

7) The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger

The controversy surrounding The Hindus: An Alternative History came as no surprise to author Wendy Doniger, who had deliberately set out to provide an alternative view of Hindu religious history to the official narrative by conservative and government groups. Doniger was careful to cite her sources, but was nevertheless strongly criticised by Dinanath Batra (founder of militant Hindu organisation Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti), who fought a successful lawsuit that forced the publisher to withdraw the book from sale in India. The author subverted the ruling the following year by republishing her book with a new publisher under a different title.

8) The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses is arguably the most controversial novel ever written by an Indian author. As a provocative fictional biography of Mohammed, the novel drew worldwide opprobrium from enraged Muslim groups, culminating in in official death threats from Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. These were no idle words. In 1988, Rushdie’s Japanese translator was murdered and his Norwegian publisher shot three times – but remarkably survived. Salman Rushdie himself withdrew to self-imposed exile in the UK, where he remains under police protection at a closely guarded address. India banned the novel soon after its publication in 1988. It remains in place 30 years later.

9) The Polyester Prince: The Rise of Dhirubhai Ambani by Hamish McDonald

Scottish journalist Hamish MacDonald faced Mafia style threats and intimidation even while researching his candid biography of petrochemical mogul Dhirubhai Ambani in 1997. The controversial founder of Reliance Industry had been dogged by allegations of financial malpractice and unethical investments since the early 1980s. The publication of McDonald’s book in Australia led to a string of injunctions through the Indian courts to prevent the Indian edition going to press. These were unsuccessful, although the furore prompted publisher Harper Collins not to proceed with publication in India. A heavily edited (some would say whitewashed) version was subsequently published in India under the title ‘Ambani & Sons’.

10) Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi & His Struggle With India by Joseph Lelyveld

Pulitzer Prize winner Lelyveld’s revisionist biography of Mahatma Gandhi was not well received in India. The book praised Gandhi’s achievements but also spoke of his many political disappointments and his failure to implement the much-needed social reforms that formed the core of his original agenda. It also shone a light into the darker recesses of Gandhi’s soul, revealing a complex character racked by contradictions and inner demons. Among its controversial claims was the suggestion that Gandhi was homosexual and had several same sex relationships in his youth. Gandhi’s racist and Hindu chauvinist opinions are also exposed in lurid detail, painting a unsettling counterpoint to the usual hagiographic biographies of India’s great independence leader. ‘Great Soul’ was banned in Gujarat following negative newspaper reviews in 2011. The ban remains in place in Gujarat state but not elsewhere in India.

What Price Freedom?

Freedom of speech is at the heart of the secular, democratic way of life. Readers are under no obligation to support the viewpoints of any of these banned authors, but few would disagree that free and open debate – coupled with tolerance – is the key to a broad and progressive intellectual culture. India has changed enormously for the better in recent years. Diaspora communities, publishing companies and cosmopolitan Indian authors play a crucial role in this change. Let us hope that the drive towards greater tolerance is irresistible and the phenomena of banned books will soon become a thing of the past.

Publisher Profile: Westland Books

Publisher Profile - Westland Books

The similarity between the world of Indian mythology and the more surreal borderlands of sci-fi has been noted by more than a few authors. Some nonfiction writers, such as Nick Redfern, see this as evidence of early visitation of the Earth by extra-terrestrial beings while humankind was in its infancy. Others, starting with Roger Zelazny and L Ron Hubbard, have delved into Indian myths while looking for inspiration for their science-fiction stories.

The connection has certainly not been lost on Westland Books, an Indian publisher that specialises in contemporary sci-fi/mythology crossovers, as well as self-help and crime thrillers.

Company Background

Westland has an interesting history in its own right. Founded in 1962 as EastWest Books, the company was a distribution company for over 25 years before its first foray into the world of publishing in 1988. From 1990, EastWest started to pioneer a unique fusion of Indian sci-fi with an imprint featuring writers such as Esther David, Mahesh Dattani and Paul Zachariah. Its rollcall of authors reveal the international focus of the company; committed to exporting quality English-language fiction by Indian writers to the wider world, and involving Western authors in writing authentically Indian fiction for the domestic market.

At the same time an imprint was set up dealing with translations and native Indian language publications – all the while continuing in its traditional role as distributor. The 2005 merger of EastWest books with Westland books created the business we know today, becoming India’s second largest trade book distributor overnight.

Westland Meets Amazon

From 2009 Westland’s publishing divisions became so successful in mainstream Indian literature that the distribution arm was wound up. 2012 saw the publication of Agent Vinod: The Jungfrau Encounter, a bestselling novel in India and the company’s largest grossing publication to date. The protagonist Agent Vinod comes across as an Indian James Bond meets Jason Bourne – operating in a claustrophobic world of government conspiracies, occult secret societies and clandestine technologies. The ascent of Westland into the global mainstream was completed in 2017 when it was purchased by Amazon.

Books For Our Times

Westland-Amazon now publishes under several distinct imprints. These include a wide range of mythic/historical fiction novels, sci-fi action thrillers and a broad selection of non-fiction topics. The Westland Books for our times imprint features biographies of historic figures, political satire and gritty crime-noir novels, all by Indian authors and with a distinctly Indian character.

Westland Publications Via Motilal Books

At Motilal Books we are honoured to stock the full Westland back catalogue and to add new titles whenever they are published throughout the year. Call us on 01727 761677 to find out more. To discover the benefits of stocking English-language Indian books, please click here to download our Independent Booksellers Guide To Books From India today.

Publisher Profile: The Himalayan Map Company and The Nepal Map Company

Publisher Profile The Himalayan Map Company and The Nepal Map Company

These companies specialise in exactly the type of publication that their name suggests: trekking maps and mountain climbing guides for North India, Nepal and the Himalayan region. Its range of maps are extremely detailed and specialised, each giving full details of specific treks, view points, glaciers, rivers, monasteries and resting points.

In effect, the Himalayan Map Company is a local Nepal manifestation – with the capacity to deal with this wild region in far more detail than any other global publisher.

A Comprehensive Himalayan Trekking & Outdoors Library

All the Himalayan regions and nations are dealt with, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Tibet and the Sikkim region of India – but most focus is given to Nepal, Tibet and Northern India. Famous treks around landmarks such as the Annapurna, Lang Tang, Ganesh Himal, Lower Dolpo and Mount Everest are each given detailed treatment. Maps provide detailed explanations of the trekking routes themselves, accommodation, places of interest and more – in short everything an intrepid trekker or mountaineer would need to attempt the route for themselves.

Why Stock Himalayan Map Company & Nepal Map Company Maps?

We recommend these maps to any independent bookseller that specialises in travel writing. The level of detail and depth of subject matter is simply unmatched by other English-language travel publishers. We are delighted to offer an extensive selection of maps at attractive trade prices of £7.99 or £8.30. Call our UK office for ordering information on 01727 761677.

Please use our stock guide on our website and search under ‘maps’.

To find out more about the benefits of stocking Indian books and how to go about it, please download our free guide: The Independent Booksellers Guide To Books From India by clicking here.

 

Publisher Profile: Penguin-Random House India

Publisher Profile - Penguin-Random House India.png

Penguin Books of India, a subsidiary of the Penguin-Random House group based in New York, is this year celebrating 30 years as an independent publisher of Indian authors and titles. It is one of the best recognised Indian publishing companies, each year showcasing hundreds of well-known and up-and-coming authors from India itself and the Indian diaspora.

Company Background

Penguin Random House is a huge international publishing group, formed in 2013 after the merger of American-German Random House and the British Penguin Group. Globally the group publishes over 15,000 new books under 250 imprints. Penguin Books India is one of 16 national divisions, each of which enjoys complete publishing autonomy within the wider Penguin brand. Other regional divisions include Uruguay, South Africa, Spain, UK, New Zealand, Canada and others.

Book Genres & Categories

Penguin Books India publish a range of primarily fictional titles for adults and children, also including a number of biographies, mythological books and non-fiction titles. Publications include many books by well-known Indian authors, as well as by Western authors popular in India. Most Penguin books are published in English, although there is also a dedicated Indian language division, publishing translated titles and original books in Hindi.

Noteworthy Titles & Authors

As befits a publisher of its status, Penguin Books India includes all the bestselling Indian authors on its roster, including internationally recognised writers like Arundhati Roy and Devdutt Pattanaik. Indian celebrity authors are also prominent, such as television personality Karan Johar, who published his biography An Unsuitable Boy with Penguin last year, and Soha Ali Khan, whose Bollywood kiss-and-tell The Perils of Being Moderately Famous is one of the company’s current bestsellers.

Other bestselling books from 2017 include:

  • The Man From The Egg by Sudha Murty
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  • Miss Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna
  • Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
  • Wild In The Backyard by Arefa Tehsin

Buy Indian Penguin – Random House Publications From The UK Through Motilal Books

We have thousands of unique Indian titles in stock in our warehouse here in the UK, with hundreds more shipped over from our Delhi office each week. Penguin-Random House is one of 750 Indian publishing houses we have a unique supplier relationship with, making us the best source of Indian books on a wide variety of topics for the world to discover. Find out more by reading our Independent Book Sellers Guide To Books From India, a comprehensive e-book that can be downloaded for free here.

Publisher Profile: HarperCollins Publishers India

Publisher Profile HarperCollins Publishers India - NEW.png

HarperCollins (India) is one of a number of Western publishing houses that have established a fully autonomous publishing presence in India. HarperCollins is now one of the most important publishing houses in India, with a publishing agenda independent of its parent company, and a wide range of interesting authors and titles.

We are proud to stock the full catalogue of Indian publications from HarperCollins, available at wholesale prices from our warehouse here in the UK.

Company Background

The international HarperCollins group has a history going back over 200 years, since it was founded by James and John Harper in 1817 in New York. It now has 120 imprints published throughout the world, with independent divisions operating in 18 countries, including India, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Germany and France. In 1990, Harper & Row, as it was then known, acquired the British publisher William Collins & Sons, itself an old firm founded in 1819, and adopted the current name HarperCollins.

Book Genres & Categories

HarperCollins India publishes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles under several different imprints. It is especially well known for its candid and readable biographies, of which the latest – a biography of Raj Kapoor – was published on Christmas Day 2017. HarperCollins India also caters to the mind, body & spirit genre, with thoughtful titles written from several religious perspectives. Recent examples include The Book of Shiva by Ravi Etteh, a spiritual novel, and several titles by the Dalai Lama.

The majority of HarperCollins books are published in English, whether they are intended solely for Indian domestic release, or international publication. However, they also publish a range of classic English language books translated into Hindi, including some of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries.

Noteworthy Titles & Authors

Notable Indian authors who publish with HarperCollins include A.S Dulat, Karmel Naur, Amitabh Pandey, CP Surendaran and Daman Singh.

Some of the publisher’s bestselling books of 2017 include:

  • Battle For Bittora by Anuja Chauhan
  • A Feast Of Vultures by Josy Joseph
  • A Forgotten Affair by Kanchana Banerjee
  • Every Time It Rains by Nikita Singh
  • Culture: 50 Insights From Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik

Books By HarperCollins India & Other Leading Publishers From Motilal Books

We are proud to stock a wide selection of HarperCollins publications for our trade customers, many of which are not generally found in UK bookshops. Our Independent Book Sellers Guide to Books from India includes useful information about the leading Indian publishing houses, authors and popular genres, as well as information on how to get the best prices. Download a free copy today by clicking here.

Publisher Profile: Juggernaut Press

Publisher Profile - Juggernaut Press.jpgJuggernaut Press, founded by entrepreneur Chiki Sarkar in 2016, is one of the most innovative modern publishing houses to have been established in India in recent years. In contrast to some of the big names in Indian publishing, Juggernaut Press is completely independent, with no connections to any American or British publishing house. 

Company Background

The aims and ethos of Juggernaut Press are refreshingly simple. According to their website, they aim to be a “world-class Indian publishing house that redefines reading and writing for the digital age”. Within this goal, they seek to encourage more Indians to read and write books, and to make books more accessible – which in practice means embracing e-publishing and mobile apps on a scale not previously seen in Indian publishing.

The independence of Juggernaut Press gives the company freedom to explore emerging trends and innovative ways of working that some larger players shy away from. Wholly Indian owned, the company nevertheless has an international focus, including several non-Indians among its senior directors and encouraging submissions from international writers.

Although only two years old, this new approach seems to be paying off. Juggernaut Press currently has a catalogue of 5000 books by 3000 authors, many of whom are first-time publishers.

Book Genres & Categories

Juggernaut covers an ambitious range of genres, including biographies of famous Indian figures, novels, poetry, short story collections and fiction titles aimed at children and teenagers. The majority of Juggernaut titles are original works published in English, although some are reprinted classics targeted at an Indian audience. The Indian language publishing division is also thriving, with over 500 original titles currently in print.

Noteworthy Authors & Books

Most of the authors published by Juggernaut Press are little known outside India, or have just recently made their breakthrough into published writing. This doesn’t mean that their publications are lightweight, however. Recent publications include the bestselling biography of Bollywood sex kitten Rehka by Yasser Usman, and The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna (author of Mrs Funnybones for Penguin books)

One of the most exciting features of Juggernaut Press is its innovative writing platform, which allows new writers to easily publish their work and showcase it on the Juggernaut Website free of charge. New writers who have gained valuable exposure this way include poet Deepika Singh (The Spear of Nationalism), and novelist Harshad Karmalkar (A Hill Dog).

Our Free Guide To Buying Books From India

We have written a free e-book to help independent bookshops and retailers find the best selection of Indian books at the right prices. You can download the guide here – The Independent Booksellers Guide To Books From India. You can also check our current stock catalogue online by clicking here. We keep over 15,000 unique titles in stock at our warehouse in the UK, and can order any title from over 100,000 Indian publications on request through Nielsen’s Book Data. Call us on 01727 761 677 to find out more.