K.V. Samapth Kumar, Editor of Sudharma, at his printing centre in Mysuru.— PHOTO: M.A.SRIRAM
‘Sudharma’ has been in publication for 47 years but its fortunes are declining
India’s ‘sole surviving Sanskrit daily,’ Sudharma , with its mix of political, civic, sports and culture coverage is waging a struggle to stay afloat as costs rise and advertisement revenue shrinks.
Reaching 3,000 print subscribers by post, the two-pager with a 47-year publishing history also has a ten-year old electronic paper version that reaches 1.5 lakh readers internationally, but fetches no revenues.
K.V. Sampath Kumar, the Editor, who hails from Mysuru where the newspaper is based, describes the publication effort as an “everyday battle for survival.”
“I don’t have the heart to close it down, and with generous hands I hope to continue the world’s only Sanskrit newspaper and see it roll off my offset machine daily,” says Mr. Kumar. Government subsidy and advertisement earnings are insufficient and the two dozen Sanskrit Universities and Academies do not provide much support. Central and State advertisements, too, are few. “Even a no-profit, no-loss model is shaky,” the Editor says.
The annual Rs. 18 lakh budget needs a stable revenue stream. Former Bihar Governor Rama Jois helped make an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh for grants. Sudharma’s core readers are in Sanskrit Vidyapeeths, academies, Kendriya Vidyalayas and public libraries in States ranging from Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala.
“I am going to print Sanskrit kritis of Indian composers with meanings in Sudharma . Perhaps that will get musicians to subscribe,” says Mr. Kumar, 59, who performs an all-in-one role : from reporter to Editor and Publisher.
Founding Editor Pandit K.N. Varadaraja Iyengar wanted to “resurrect a language considered to be inactive in public life.”