The one who tells the stories rules the world
- Hopi Indigenous Saying
Publishing is an art, an activity of making information available to the people all across the world. Publishing became possible with the invention of writing, and printing. It was in the1600s that the first printed newspapers and magazines started in the world.
Publishing was a boon to the modern world. It became a window to a greater world that is beyond many. However, as many of us realised that much of the stories, histories and books taught to us did not reflect the entire truth of the world. Many a time, while wandering about in New York's Metropolitan Museum bookshops and many other beautiful bookshops, many of us were struck by one question always, "Where are our books that tell the history and cultures and lives of our people?" These books were simply not there. It is not just in New York bookshops, even in bookshops in our national capitals, our stories were missing. We need to ask questions ~ Are the stories of the colonizers more valid than the stories of the colonized? Who is writing down stories passed on through oral tradition and preserving them for future generations? Are we encouraged to find and share our individual and collective voices? Does our history require interpretation, and do our customs need validation? Is writing and publishing just within the purview of a few, or should it be accessible to all without regard to education or social status.
Many of our stories go missing in the world while stories of others are pumped at us repeatedly. Look at Classics. They are on bookshelves throughout the world printed, bound and beautifully done. How did they come to be labeled ‘classics’? Did an international jury make a determination, or is this a manifestation of cultural elitism and soft colonization?
This mistake done to the world needs to be rectified. Can we deprogram what was kept constantly in our minds? Where are the stories of many forgotten peoples and nations?
Meanwhile, year after year, books are getting churned out. There are big books, fat books, thin books, lean books, but many of them are not about the places and areas we came from. Our stories are simply not there. This spirit to bring change in the world of publishing is the inspiration behind the setting up of The New York Universal Publishing House (NYUPH) in the summer of 2018, June 27.
NYUPH aims to bring work and stories of forgotten people, forgotten lives and forgotten tales of far away lands because we knew if we do not bring them now, they could be lost forever. Many of the important works are done by incredible people who we never know, there are stories told by our grandparents, handed down in our indigenous languages, generation after generation. They had wisdom, faith, love, courage and goodness in them just like the usual stories we hear from popular sources.
We hope that the work of NYUPH will also bring to life many of the important work, stories and histories of the people whom we never ever knew existed. Join in our efforts to bring the critical works, stories, poems, folklore to life and revel in life, living and reasoning once again.
The New York Universal Publishing House will be the intellectual home of the world's forgotten peoples, our histories, our struggles and our writings.