India may get its first multi-page daily newspaper in Sanskrit this Navratri.
A group of enthusiastic Sanskrit lovers, who have been publishing the Sanskrit weekly Sajal Sandesh from Delhi for about the last two years, are working overtime to start the daily.
"Currently, the lone Sanskrit newspaper Sudharma is published from Bangalore, but it is only one page. Sajal Sandesh will be a 12-page tabloid," said editor Rakesh Kumar Mishra.
Sajal Sandesh was created in 2013 by Mishra, an MA in Sanskrit, and other spirited persons including D.S. Khatri, Manishi Kumar Sinha, Sunder Lal and Ravindra Nath Pathak. Mishra says 22,000 copies of the newspaper are printed.
"Most copies go to Sanskrit institutes around the country. In Delhi, there are 46 gurukuls. There are 62 colleges in Delhi University where Sanskrit is taught. Besides, there are two Sanskrit universities in Delhi—Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit Vidyapeeth (Katwaria Sarai) and Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (Janakpuri). Besides Delhi, there are seven Sanskrit universities and eight Sanskrit Akademis in other states. These are the places which provide the readers of Sajal Sandesh," Mishra said.
Asked how he manages the finances of the newspaper, Mishra said: "We are thriving on individual contributions from Sanskrit lovers. We got empanelled in the government's DAVP in April, but have not got a single advertisement so far. I have met senior officials in this regard. The biggest dilemma before government departments is that they do not know how to make advertisements in Sanskrit."
Mishra said he was inspired to start the weekly newspaper after the Kendriaya Vidyalaya decided to remove Sanskrit as an optional subject two years ago. "Sanskrit is 'dev bhasha'. It is the source of many other languages, yet it is neglected. That gave me the urge to start the newspaper. Now, after publishing it successfully for two years, we want to make it a daily. The Centre also appears to be favourable towards the promotion of Sanskrit," he said.