GUWAHATI, June 5 - About 2,350 books in Assamese were being published annually in recent years as per a study by the Assam Journalist and Literary Pensioners� Association.
According to president of the Association DN Chakravartty, in 1947, eight or nine books were published annually and the number increased to 83 in 1981. He added that at present, about 20 lakh books are being published annually throughout the world while the figure was only 12 lakh in 1981. In India, over a lakh books are published annually today against about 80,000 in 1981.
The study revealed that while literacy in Assam in 1947 was only 14 per cent, the State�s literacy rate now is a little over 65.38 per cent and the country�s 72.99 per cent.
The study further revealed that while an average matriculate in Assam in 1947 read annually from library and other sources about 10 books on an average besides textbooks, the present figure in respect of Assamese books does not exceed five. However, there is a growing tendency among the younger sections in Assam, especially those having English-medium education, to read fiction extensively. But, educated Assamese youths do not show interest in reading Assamese books.
A major aspect noticeable in Assamese literature is the absence of epoch-making books like the ones written by Padma Barkataki, Abdul Malik and Dr Bhabendra Nath Saikia.
An interesting fact about English writing among the Assamese is that while the great writers educated in Assamese medium like Hem Baruah, Satyen Barkataki and Dr Maheswar Neog were prolific writers in English as well, English books written by Assamese writers educated in English medium have been few and far in between, the study said.