‘18 years have gone by, and it has not been easy—success or failure, we just kept going,’ says the Managing Director of Vitasta Publishing House.
NEW DELHI: To be an entrepreneur is not an easy journey, and Renu Kaul’s journey as the managing director of Vitasta Publishing House in New Delhi is no exception. Her journey from journalism to Vitasta has been a tremendous success with a proud history of publishing more than 400 high-calibre books to date on a variety of subjects and problems.
Vitasta provides a platform to authors and recognizes urgent issues on a national, social, and human level, and comprehends their significance from the standpoint of the general welfare of humanity. The goal of Vitasta Publishing is to produce thought-provoking, instructive, and entertaining books that challenge the status quo and conventional but dated ideas and social norms. From books on politics and social issues to new-age fiction, Vitasta has a wide range of titles available.
The journey of Vitasta started with a book called “Brahmacharya Gandhi and His Women Associates”. Renu said, “A friend asked me if I would like to edit a manuscript. I browsed through some 4 lakh words. It was explosive, but well referenced. Needed careful editing since the issue was sensitive. It took us more than a year to bring it down to one lakh words. No publisher touched it. My author was heartbroken. It was then that I took the plunge, gave up my Hindustan Times job, and set up Vitasta.”
Vitasta published “Brahmacharya Gandhi and His Women Associates”, a masterpiece on Mahatma Gandhi and his experiments with Brahmacharya. This remarkable book was praised all across the country. In the following years, “India’s Biggest Cover Up”, authored by Anuj Dhar became another milestone publication for Vitasta. The historical mystery surrounding Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s disappearance, and possibly his death, sparked a national debate about the book shortly after its publication. In India, the book is among the all-time bestsellers.
Similarly, Vitasta also published a number of political and motivational biographies, including “Born to Fly”, a bestseller in 2016-17. The book is a motivational autobiography of MP Anil Kumar, an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who overcame a fatal car crash and battled against all odds to live an honourable and dignified life as a paraplegic. Another significant book, “Narendra Modi, The Game Changer” by Sudesh Verma has also been published by Vitasta. The book offers a political biography of Narendra Modi and his achievements, initially as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, followed by his incredible rise to become the Prime Minister of India.
Vitasta published books on several controversial topics that have sparked controversy and discussions. Books, like “Denied by Allah” by Noor Zaheer, played an important role in showcasing injustice against Muslim women for “whom even God does not seem to have mercy”. Renu said, “When we launched ‘Denied by Allah’ at the book fair in New Delhi, the discussion became so intense that a section of the audience almost became violent. We were criticized for playing with the sentiments of people. However, many years later, when the Muslim women’s Bill was passed in Parliament, we were happy to have played a part.” During the pandemic, Vitasta survived and has grown bigger with sales representatives in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, including Delhi. Speaking of her success, she said, “Our books are available in the US and the UK. Next, we want to look at the whole lot of new mediums that are available now…from audio to podcasts to OTT platforms, we wish to explore them all. 18 years have gone by, and it has not been easy. But to be honest, there is a sense of pride, we never gave up—success or failure, we just kept going.”