Friday, June 12, 2009

Grand Alliance

In 1901, V.Kuppuswamy Iyer was probably buzzing with ideas about what he wanted to do; that's one explanation for the description of the firm he founded - The Alliance Company. As you can see, the sign (well, you may need to click on it for a larger picture) says, "Publishers, Booksellers, Etc". Today, we don't know what else Kuppuswamy Iyer had in mind, but the firm has been thriving in the first two parts of its description. Considering that they publish only Tamizh titles, it is really an amazing feat, to have kept it going for well over a century, now.

Alliance was caught up - maybe even thought up - in the fervour of the independence movement of the early 20th century. The Indian National Congress' annual conferences were always covered by The Alliance Company through special editions. When they released the Tamizh translations of Netaji's books "Youth's Dream" and "Straight Path", the British government banned them and that probably added to the firm's credibility. To celebrate their first 40 years, the firm brought out an anthology of short stories - 40 of them - under the title "Kadhai Kovai", in 1942; in the same vein, they brought out another anthology to celebrate their centenary - 100 stories by 100 writers, this time.

For all that, their best selling book is one named "Indhumadha Ubakkiyaanam", a collection of stories from Hindu mythology, aimed at providing moral instruction for children. According to the firm, this title, compiled by A.Krishnaswami, has been continuously in print since 1908 - indeed, it is the first name in the list of titles on the firm's (absolutely to-the-point) website!


Ram N said...

Did you check this out? ...

Shantaram said...

@ Ram: Yes, I did - which is why it took me so long to post this! Wanted some more info :)