Mahatma Gandhi's life and philosophy continues to interest people even today, at least going by the sale at a recent book exhibition where a record 16,500 books on him were lapped up by Mumbaiites over six days.
The annual exhibition, that has been conducted at the Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal every year since 1982 on the occasion of Gandhi's death anniversary, totalled Rs. 5.15 lakh, which was a record. Last year, the total amount at the sale was Rs. 3.86 lakh with 15,440 books sold.
More than 6,000 people visited the exhibition from January 28 to February 2 at a stall at Flora Fountain and at the Gandhi Book Centre, Nana Chowk.
"I bought about 15 books on Gandhi because I thought his outlook will help me in my social work at Beed," said Pradeep Chavan, 48, an Andheri resident and advocate by profession.
"The interest in Gandhi has been increasing, as many people have been influenced by Anna Hazare's call for his philosophy recently," said TRK Somaiya, programme coordinator. "About 10% of the buyers were students and a majority were under the age of 30-35 years," he said, adding that several buyers had come from other states as well.
The organisers said 50% of the books that were sold were in Marathi. "Till last year, English books were more popular, but this time, the Marathi version of his autobiography sold a larger number of copies, " said Somaiya.
The Mandal's website on Gandhi (www.mkgandhi.org) also reflects his popularity. Over the last month, the website has received about 3,000 visits daily, with the number peaking at 8,139 on January 30, Gandhi's sixty-fifth death anniversary.
The organisers also put up books on Babasaheb Ambedkar, whose sale reached Rs. 55,000.