Gandhiji’s autobiography is bestseller of bestsellers

Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, still remains popular and an all-time best-seller.

Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, still remains popular and an all-time best-seller.

More than 100 years after he arrived in India to take part in the freedom struggle, and nearly 70 years after his death, the principles of the Father of the Nation are still relevant even on his 150th birth anniversary. It is still considered one of best in the world.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 — January 30, 1948) had arrived in Mumbai on January 9, 1914 from South Africa.

By conservative estimates, more than a crore of The Story of My Experiments with Truth — popularly known as My Experiments with Truth or just Gandhiji's Autobiography — has been sold so far by the Ahmedabad-based Navjivan Trust, which publishes it.

The Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal, Gandhi Book Centre and Gandhi Research Foundation, have been propagating Gandhian thoughts for years.

“In the present context of increasing violence, terrorism and crime, the autobiography and other books of (by and about) Mahatma Gandhi are inspiring many people all over the world. Every year, at least 1.25 lakh copies are sold,” said eminent Gandhian T R K Somaiya, the chief of Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal. "It is the bestseller of bestsellers," he said, adding that so far a crore copies have been sold in multiple languages.

The autobiography is available in 16 Indian languages, including  Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telegu, Asamese, Tamil, Oriya, Kashmiri and Punjabi. Besides English, the other foreign languages in which it has been published are French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Japanese.

Although the book did not have a great demand in the initial years of its publication, the demand went up in 1984 after the release of Richard Attenborough's film, Gandhi.

Somaiya started selling the copies of the book outside cinema houses in those days. When the demand for the book started going up, he set up the Gandhi Book Centre. Today, the centre has nearly 200 titles on Gandhi in different languages, and 350 translated books.

Mumbai-based peace activist and Gandhian, Jatin Desai said that the popularity of the autobiography is "amazing." “One of the reasons of its popularity is that people from different ideologies, philosophy and thought processes read it. In today’s world, when there is violence, conflict and bloodshed, religious and linguistic differences, the book assumes more importance. Most of the world leaders have acknowledged the Gandhian faith and principles,” he said.

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