Sampath Kumar, the editor of Sudharma, which is possibly the only surviving Sanskrit newspaper in India, says that he writes, edits, prints, folds and even distributes the two-page newspaper to the 3000-odd subscribers across India - all for the love for Sanskrit. And yet, he is struggling to keep the newspaper alive.
The editor of the 46-year-old newspaper has now published an appeal on the paper requesting for funds from patrons to buy a single offset printer that could cost upto Rs. 20 lakh.
Sampath, who is based out of Mysuru told The News Minute that he had written to the Prime Minister, HRD minister Smriti Irani and home minister Rajnath Singh last year asking for funds. However, he is yet to receive a response from them.
“We need support. The yearly subscription of this newspaper costs a mere Rs. 400 and the circulation is coming down. We have an online newspaper that has over 1.5 lakh readers all over the world. There are over 3000 subscribers of the physical copy across India. I send the newspaper by post,” says Sampath.
“My team has a total of 5 people, including my wife. And I do most of the writing and editing too. The newspaper has been 2-pages-long for many years. Although there is content, there is no money,” he says.
“In today’s time of electronic gadgets and fancy magazines, it has been a struggle to keep the paper going. Our readers and well-wishers have been giving us lot of inputs and ideas to improve the circulation and reader base of the newspaper,” he adds.
However, this has not deterred him from planning to launch a half yearly magazine, “We have thought of giving a face lift to the paper and to come up with Sudharma magazine, a half yearly. In order to do so we need to equip ourselves with modern day printing gadgets and accessories.”
“We are buying an imported single-colour offset machine. Estimated cost of this is about Rs 20 lakh. We need your help to put these dreams into action. We request you to kindly help us with your donations. Please help us spread the language to a wider audience,” the appeal reads.
“Sudharma is not a revenue-generating venture for us. It’s a fruit of our passion for journalism and Sankrit,” says Sampath.