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Grantha-seva - Producing books in New Delhi - How Siksastakam and Raga-vartma-candrika came to be...

Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 00:57:20 +0530
Here's a series of photos from my extended visit to Rakmo Press in New Delhi, an insight into what's involved if you get a book printed in India. This time we produced Raga-vartma-candrika, Siksastakam and Guru/Bhakta-tattva-vijnana. I spent a total of two weeks there observing the production, first a week to ensure that everything got started, and then returning for another week of running up and down the stairs and trying to still keep it on some remote semblance of a schedule.
Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 00:59:06 +0530
It all starts with the PC. Here I have my (ex) portable Shuttle box with a TFT-screen set up in their computer studio, making some last minute changes after one more time of skimming through the manuscript.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:00:05 +0530
This is one of the friendly fellows working with computers there. Here he is about to start printing the final version of the text to be taken downstairs for producing the films.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:02:08 +0530
The printing press in the ground floor in this three-store building in Okla industrial area in Delhi. The guys are always busy, from morning until evening, except the lunch break when everybody pretty much just lays flat down on the floor for two hours regardless of how much they are behind the schedule.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:02:44 +0530
A close shot of the modern equipment they have.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:03:48 +0530
The down below of Rakmo Press, the storage room where all the paper and stuff is kept.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:04:38 +0530
This is also a part of the production, I believe they work with the films here.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:08:17 +0530
Once printed, the pages need to be sorted out in bundles of sheets for binding. As you see, they don't have a machine for the job. The first time I came in to check on the progress of the work, they brought me 50 samples of both RVC and SAS to check out before binding the rest. The poor guys had the pages all in correct order, but all books had half the pages of one and half the pages of another. They then took them all apart and had to re-sort the sheets for both books, thousand copies of each. That would make approximately 70,000 sheets to be sorted.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:08:47 +0530
Here are the stacks that are already sorted.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:12:06 +0530
Since all of this took more time than expected, I stayed for a week to rush the production, as my plane was leaving back to Finland and the already delayed deadline had to be kept. Here's a picture of my room-mate, who was overseeing the production of Gour Govinda Swami's "Mathura Meets Vrindavan". He is working together with another Madhavananda who coordinates the publication of GGS's works. We had several interesting discussions over the two weeks we spent together. The name of this gentle soul who saw to it that I ate more than a couple of bananas daily escapes me right now, but I'll post it in as soon as my memory right now. Whenever he doesn't live in Rakmo Press, he stays in Bhubaneshvar, Orissa.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:13:56 +0530
Here is the soft-bound production department. The covers turned out to be a bit flimsy, I should have had GBTV made in a bit smaller size to increase the bulk and thus improve the overall appearance.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:16:07 +0530
The covers are laminated before binding to make the cover last longer. Sometimes Indian laminations come off when you bring books to the West, you get these shreads of plastic falling off the covers eventually. However, we have not had the problem with these books, obviously they did a decent job laminating.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:18:14 +0530
Then the laminated sheets need to be glued on pieces of paperboard, which in turn need to be glued to the sheets that have been bound together. Their binding machine was out of order, so they had to get the job done with a subcontractor. Here the covers are being glued on.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:23:51 +0530
Yes, and glue -- you need lots of it, and it must be all over the place. First glue is smeared all over the place, and then the excess is wiped away. However, spots of glue are left here and there, and the books need to be manually screened through to have them recleaned wherever necessary. I shifted through all the 3000 books to ensure that there was no excess glue left on the outer ocovers, that all the pages were in proper order and not upside down, and so forth. They did not have a department for doing this yet. Fortunately, I had the god-sent help of Prahlad from Delhi, who had somehow found our raganuga-website and written me an e-mail asking whether I knew anyone with whom he could visit Vrindavan. I told him that as a matter of fact I was 15 minutes down the street and that he could come over anytime, and he was so kind as to help me shift through the books, load them into a truck, come to Radha Kunda and help unload them to the storage room there. I have not heard from him since some time, I hope he is doing all right and is happy in his bhajan. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of him at hand.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:25:58 +0530
Here some last moment changes are being done. I believe one of the pages of SAS was missing the left header, so that had to be manually impressed upon each page. It turned out better than I expected. This person was very helpful, he also participated in fixing as many of the books I'd found defective as possible during my last day in the press.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:32:06 +0530
Baba and many others were already waiting when our truck arrived to Radha Kunda. He inspected the books as soon as we arrived. These were the first English books printed as hard copies ever, so the atmosphere was enthusiastic.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:33:59 +0530
The hall where the books are stored is right above the lecture hall (below), about half of its size. It is practically full of Baba's writings in Bengali and Hindi.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:35:37 +0530
I have no idea how many books are stored in here. Many, that is for certain. They have several rows of shelves like the one in the photo packed with books. Fortunately, we found space for the English books on the upper shelves.
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Madhava - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 01:36:51 +0530
Now, we of course did not print the books to be stored on the shelves.

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Go and grab yours from, from any of the main bookstores of Vrindavan, or even better, directly from the source! smile.gif
TarunGovindadas - Mon, 26 Jul 2004 21:00:17 +0530
very much gracias!

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wonderful job,
dear Madhavaji!

DharmaChakra - Fri, 06 Aug 2004 00:03:28 +0530

Thanks for posting these pictures. I worked for a while for a printing company doing company stock reports, phone books and the like. Its interesting to see the 'indian' version of book publication. The process is basically the same, just the mechanization we use is so much more hands off... it reminds me of an observation a friend of mine had after visiting India; she said the main difference is that here, manpower costs, in India, materials cost... in other words, there are always more than enough people to do the job, and it comes down to the cost of materials.

Needless to say, I hopped over to loibazzar & purchased their bundle of these books...