‘SUDHARMA’ India’s sole Sanskrit daily’s editor couple KV Sampath Kumar and Vidushi Jayalakshmi KS are selected for Padma Shri award 2020 under the Literature and Education -Journalism category. Mr. Sampath Kumar, who along with his wife multitasks as an editor, publisher, proofreader and reporter of India’s, and perhaps the world’s, only Sanskrit newspaper, Sudharma.
The two-page newspaper is sold for ₹1.50 with an annual subscription of ₹500 and has a circulation of nearly 3,500. This newspaper publishes news on page1 and page 2 is reserved for features and other articles. Sudharma is celebrating its golden jubilee this year and has readers from Germany, Japan etc. The couple was felicitated at Mysuru congratulating for the honor received, by the News and Public Relations Department of Karnataka. Padma Shri recipient Sampath Kumar expressed that Sudharma newspaper needs help from the government.
Launched in 1970 by Mr. Sampath Kumar’s father, Pandit K.N. Varadaraja Iyengar, it was an enterprise with a difference — not for profit, but to disseminate news in Sanskrit to keep the “language of the gods” alive and conserve a slice of Indian culture while dispelling the notion that Sanskrit was a dying language or only for ‘vidwans’. Though a lot of students study Sanskrit in schools even today, it is more because of the perception that it is a scoring subject, said Mr. Kumar. Initially, people were skeptical about the paper’s viability, but Iyengar, with his zest for news and Sanskrit, kept the enterprise alive and extracted a promise from his son and daughter-in-law to keep Sudharma alive.
Today, the paper has about 3,500 subscribers for the print version and is despatched to readers across India by post. The paper has also kept pace with the changing times and launched an online version, which is available to subscribers for a fee of ₹500.