You are sure to have heard of Huffington Post or eve the Parisian newspaper, Le Monde. But do you know that about India’s oldest surviving Sanskrit newspaper, Sudharma?
In Mysuru, Jayalaxmi and her husband Sampath Kumar run Sudharma, India’s oldest surviving Sanskrit newspaper which was started by her father-in-law Varadaraja Iyenger in 1970.
The fact that it comes from Mysuru is not a surprise as the city hosts Maharaja’s Samskrit College, India’s oldest Sanskrit college. The paper was launched from one the rooms in the college and it subscribes to 820 copies of the paper for a ‘princely’ sum of Rs.500 per year.
The newspaper is surviving, just about not about to die. The logic behind starting the paper remains the same- to keep alive a much neglected ancient language of India. There is no marketing or sales team; the family pretty much runs the show on skeletal support staff. The newspaper is sent to readers by post. They run a printing press – visiting cards, wedding cards and et al. The money earned from this supports the newspaper. The newspaper is usually 2 or 4 paged and costs around Rs.1.5 lakh a month to keep it running. It has some 4000 subscribers and the state Govt gets Rs.1650 a month in advertisements.
The effort of people like these who toil endlessly and non-descript to keep an Indian language alive is laudable. We only wish the Center recognizes this need to keep our ancient languages alive and helps papers like Sudharma keep running. Let’s not become a mere English speaking nation; we are much more than that!