A slice of Assam’s 200-year-old printing history came alive at the ongoing Guwahati Literary Festival and Book Fair here on Saturday when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi released a reprint of the first printed book in Assamese Dharmapustak (an Assamese version of the Bible translated by Atmaram Sarma and printed in 1813).
The reprinted volume has been brought out by the Publication Board, Assam, the organiser of the literary festival and the book fair at the Assam Engineering Institute playground.
Publisher Surjya Hazarika, who obtained a digitalised image copy of the original book kept preserved in the British Library, has edited the reprinted edition. On the occasion, Mr. Hazarika said it was Dr. William Carey of the then British Baptist Mission, who was instrumental in bringing out the book together with Atmaram Sarma, the Assamese translator of the Bible in 1813. The original volume runs into 864 pages. He said the reprinted volume would be valuable study material for linguists and researchers.
Mr. Gogoi in his speech said the Assamese language, literature, art and culture had always been very rich and had now made remarkable progress. The State government would extend all possible help for preservation of heritage, he said. The Education Minister and Chairman of the Publication Board, Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said the State would soon develop its own standard book numbering system on the lines of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) to keep a record of the published books.