Declining Marathi readership takes a hit on ‘Diwali Ank’ in Pune
The declining readership in Marathi among the youth today, as their education is in English primarily , is a grim reality, says eminent Marathi writer and publisher.Updated: Oct 17, 2017 15:41 IST
The immensely popular annual Diwali magazines in Marathi, known as ‘Diwali Anks’, are taking a hit on account of declining readership of these magazines and consequently poor support from advertisers.
Eminent Marathi writer and publisher Bhanu Kale spoke of the tough time he had in bringing out the Diwali special edition of ‘Antarnaad’, a highly-rated magazine in Marathi. “This issue will be our last issue,” he said while speaking to Hindustan Times.
According to Kale, all magazines, not just Diwali Anks, are facing a survival challenge. “This is not specific to Marathi alone but for all regional magazines. Everywhere there is intense competition and people look at advertisements for Diwali Anks as a kind of charity as we cannot produce a lot of issues,” he said.
The declining readership in Marathi among the youth today, as their education is in English primarily , is a grim reality, he said. “In addition to diversions such as TV, internet and social media, the urge to read good literature is also declining. The other problem we face today is finding good qualitative writers,” Kale said.
Antarnaad, which is 23-years-old, focuses on Marathi literature including short stories, poetry, book reviews, travelogues and personal essays.
Diwali Anks have a loyal following among the readers. For the Gogate family, purchasing these special magazines has become a tradition.
“This is a 107-year-old tradition,” said Prof Milind Joshi. “People love these Diwali magazines as much as they love politics, theatre and literature. Just as Diwali is a festival of lights, Diwali Ank is a festival of words. These magazines motivate and invigorate the mind,” he said.
The very first Diwali ank, Manoranjan, was published in 1909 by the publishers with the same name. “It was only two pages and sold for ₹1. It was edited by Kashinath Raghunath Mitra, who was inspired by the Bengali Durgostav, where they bring out a special edition.”
“Today, there are more than 300 Diwali Ank on sale. The most popular and one that is often on the waiting list of readers are Mauj, Padmagandha, Deepavali, Deeplaxmi, Antarnaad, Anubhav, Vishakha, Menaka, Maher Akshar, Vasant, Taraka, Chintan Adesh, Musafiri, Comedy Katta, Milun Saaryajani, etc,” said Ramesh Rathiwadekar, owner of Akshardhara, which has been holding a permanent Diwali and book exhibition at Atre Sabhagruha on Bajirao road for the past 23 years.These special editions cost anywhere between ₹100 to ₹300 per copy and the business generates about ₹6-7 crores in Pune and Mumbai.