Monday, July 10, 2006

Sudharma - the only Samskrit daily publication

Though this is a topic that has been written about in this blog, it had been in Samskrit. And after having realized that not many people read his Samskrit jottings, this blogger is compelled to write about this Samskrit publication in English.

As we well know, Samskrit is one of the oldest surviving languages in this world. The Samskrit words used today have been in use for thousands of years now. This is the language that Rama and Krishna spoke in. This is the language of the veda and the purANas. Kalidasa's classics are written in this Divine Language. This blogger has the tendency to go all hyperbolic when it comes to Samskrit and Her glory - but Samskrit deserves all praise and more, especially in this age and time when anything Indian is looked at with scorn or worse - indifference. Suffice it to say that Samskrit epitomizes Indian culture. Indian Culture and Samskrit are inseparable - just as kAlidAsa wrote in his immortal Raghuvamsha - vAk arthau iva, we could easily say samskriti-samskRte cha.

Samskrit learning had always been considered as the sign of a refined mind, and it is correct to recall now that Samskritam itself means refined. This consideration, however, began to go out of vogue once the British began to rule over India. While the western mode of thinking was not exactly a bane, it caused several educated and otherwise intelligent Indians to neglect their culture and ape an alien one. This resulted in a decline in the position of Samskrit. She suffered the humiliation of dethronement by her own children.

Even as India became independent, Samskrit's fortunes did not experience an upswing. She was not made the national language of India owing to petty caste feuds. The socialist mindset continued to keep Samskrit in dusty old museums and manuscripts. Lip service, of course, was paid and we could see several schools, nay Universities come up that were dedicated to Samskrit. But ask a common man on the street about Samskritam and you will see him blinking blankly. Publications in Samskrit continued to exist - but one could never see a kAlidAsa or a bANa. Why? Because Samskrit continued to be thrust away from the mainstream of national life. If one asks why it should be Samskrit that needs to be brought back into the mainstream, this blogger would just ask that person to study some literature in Samskrit. BhartRhari's shatakas should be a good introduction.

This blogger has digressed enough from the main point that he wants to make - but he considers it a necessary digression to give a context to the following matter.

To bring a language back to the mainstream, (this blogger has never used the word revive or the phrase "bring back to life" just because Samskrit has always been alive - alive in the countless temples and in the daily devotions of millions of Hindus - but only as a weak stream and not like a roaring river that Samskrit was and deserves to be) there need to be publications in that language - publications catering to different sections and strata of society and to society's different needs.

Ever since a newspaper has been published, we have seen its power - not only over the minds of its readers but also the way in which it influences a language. Sudharma is the example in this case. Founded in 1970 by a Samskrit scholar Vidyanidhi Sri KN Varadaraja Iyengar, this publication fortunately and unfortunately continues to be the only Samskrit daily published. Several spiritual and political leaders and statesmen have acknowledged Sudharma's contribution to culture and language. Sudharma, published from the city of tradition, Mysore, is now edited by Sri KV Sampath Kumar, son of the founder.

Running a newspaper is no joke and especially if there is a dearth of advertisers and readers, and more so if it is in a language that is misguidedly considered anachronistic. The language issue assumes importance in another angle, as there are few people who can write for the newspaper in Samskrit. This job of running the newspaper looks more and more onerous as one considers the various obstacles it has had to face. But Sri Sampath kumar is a brave soul. He soldiers on for the cause of Samskritam and sudharmA has entered her thirty sixth year.

This blogger wishes to draw the kind attention of all those who claim to love Indian culture and sanAtana dharma to this publication. To commemmorate the thirty sixth year, there is a special edition being brought out. In a Kannada note that this blogger received, the issue is supposed to contain short and long stories, poems, news, humor, children's stories, articles on science and pretty much everything else that one would expect to find in a mainstream publication. To continue running it, the publisher requests your financial and cultural attention. sudharmA is offering advertisements from Rs 750 (quarter page) to Rs 2500 (full page) (15 USD to around 50 USD). This is close to nothing for people earning dollars in the US.

If you are a lover of Samskritam, this blogger requests you to put your money where your heart is and help out sudharmA. The contact details are as follows:

Editor: Sri KV Sampath Kumar
No. 561, 2nd cross,
Ramachandra Agrahara,
Mysore - 570 004

One could also subscribe to this publication. This blogger is willing to provide details about overseas subscriptions if somebody is interested as he has heard that a few copies go abroad.

This is the first time that this blogger has put in a pitch for financial help - but it is for a worthy cause. If you share this concern, please do what is necessary.

|| jiyAt gIrvANabhAratI ||

Update: I just enquired with the publisher and he is still checking with the postal department as to what the exact postage is. His email-id (was not working till a little while ago) is


Venkatesha Murthy said...

ಅಮೇರಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿರುವವರಿಗೆ ಸಲ್ಲುವ ಚಂದಾ ವಿವರಗಳನ್ನು ಕಳಿಸಿಕೊಡಲಾದೀತೆ? ನನ್ನ ಈ-ವಿಳಾಸ ಜೀಮೈಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ gvmurthy .


ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಬರಹಗಳನ್ನು ನಾನು ಓದುತ್ತೇನೆ; ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಯಿಸುವಷ್ಟು ನನ್ನ ಭಾಷೆ ಬಲಿತಿಲ್ಲ; ನನ್ನ ಕಲಿಕೆ ಬರೆ ಓದಿಗಷ್ಟೆ ಸೀಮಿತ :(

Anonymous said...

Nice Info.

Vasu Srinivasan said...

Thanks for this info. Please provide overseas info, im eagerly looking forward to subscribe to it.