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Demand surges for slim, coat pocket edition of Constitution

About 5,000 copies of the edition were sold soon after Rahul Gandhi held it aloft in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, according to a news report.
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 21:44 IST

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A slim coat pocket edition of the Constitution with a red and black cover has seen a spike in demand after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi used it in his election campaign.

Published by Lucknow-based Eastern Book Company (EBC) and priced at Rs 716, the edition includes all articles, schedules, and amendments up to the most recent ones.

Printed on thin paper, it is edited by senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan. About 5,000 copies of the edition were sold soon after Rahul Gandhi held it aloft in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, according to a news report. 

About 1,000 copies have been sold in Bengaluru alone, a publishing industry source says. “Earlier, only advocates were interested in buying the copy, now everyone is showing interest,” he says. 

Dhananjay N, proprietor of Beetle Book Shop (Jeerunde Pustaka), received more than 100 enquiries during the election campaign. “People called after seeing it during the campaign and we received many calls for this particular edition,” he says. Dhananjay recently ordered 40 copies and they were sold out in three days.

Mayi Gowda, proprietor of Blossom Book House, says another hardbound edition has been on sale for more than a year. “We sold 200 to 250 copies of it, but over the past few weeks, we have seen a demand for the coat pocket edition. We have placed orders,” he says.

Guruprasad D N, owner of Aakruti Books, has observed a rise in the demand for the Constitution over the last two years. “Ever since the opposition and civil societies started speaking about how it is in danger, people have become aware of the importance of reading and understanding it,” he says. 

He has received many enquiries for the Constitution in Kannada translation. At Aakruti, such books as Abdul Rehman Pasha’s ‘Sarala Odigaagi Bharatha Samvidhana’ (The Constitution — A Simple Read) have been in demand. “We got copies of the coat pocket edition last week and people are coming to get them,” says Guruprasad. Editions of the Constitution published by KLJ Publications in Kannada and English have sold in large numbers at Aakruti.   

Many see this as a healthy development. “Power flows from the Constitution. If people are showing interest in buying a copy, it’s great,” senior advocate G Papi Reddy says. “If people know the Constitution, they know the law. The government gets power from the Constitution,” he told Metrolife.

Radhika Ganganna, IT professional and volunteer at Aviratha Trust, presented a copy of the coat pocket edition to her daughter with a note, “Always fight for your right”.

“I think everyone is now aware of what we studied in school to pass an exam. The last 10 years has made us aware that we have to fight for our rights, or they will be snatched away from us,” she says.

Radhika also wants to use it to create events around it in schools. “It has to be made available to children, now that we have momentum,” she said. 

Copyright question

Vinay Kumar, the founder of Reclaim Constitution, describes the book sales as a “baby step in the right direction,” and calls for politicians to understand the book’s “true spirit”.

Sumeet Malik, director of the publication house that brought out the coat pocket edition, has asserted its right over its look and feel, but Kumar questions the thought of holding a copyright over a derivative product from the Constitution which belongs to everyone.

“People have given their lives for the Constitution without expecting anything in return. Even the artists who decorated the Constitution don’t seem to have asserted their intellectual property rights,” he said.

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Published 18 June 2024, 21:44 IST

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