Publishers get clever with anniversary issues of books on 1857 Mutiny

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Publishing houses cannot afford to forget anniversaries. Their dates with history are marked by glossy, sepia-tinted hardbounds and gala launches. The year 2007-that marks the 150th anniversary of the 1857 Uprising and the 60th year of independent India- is just the right time to package nationalism and sell history.

The sexagenarian country has spawned quite a few books, including historian Ramachandra Guha's magnum opus India After Gandhi and India 60, an anthology of 30 articles and two photo essays edited by Ira Pande. "An anniversary celebration is a nice way to introduce the side of India that few know of," says Guha.
The publishers' sense of history -and profits-is extremely keen. Pramod Kapoor, publisher of Roli Books, says, "We normally chart out the calendar two-three years in advance to release books on anniversaries." Like India Remembered: Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power by Pamela Mountbatten and India Hicks.

Roli will also be rolling out books on the 1857 Revolt-Boria Majumdar's 1857 Revisited will be launched next month, and Rudrangshu Mukherjee's Dateline 1857 will be out in July. Roli will also come out with a book on the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar's court proceedings.

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