Tradition of Marathi Diwali magazines is now hundred years old. Although it continues publishing more than 400 issues, the tradition is in a financial crisis due to reduced number of advertisements and rise in production cost.
The centenary is being celebrated by organising various activities across the state. Last week, Ideal Book Company organised a Palakhi procession of the oldest Diwali issues, including the first issue of Manoranjan published in 1909.
Granthali, another publishing house is distributing sets of 100 Diwali issues to 100 libraries across the state with the intention of creating awareness about the rich culture of the Diwali magazines.
On the same lines, Granthayan is organising mobile exhibitions. Ten vans have been arranged to visit various districts with Diwali magazines. Majestic Publication will reprint the first issue of the Manoranjan as well as the first issues of some of the oldest magazines like Mauj and Awaaz.
Every year nearly 440 Marathi Diwali magazines hit the stands and the total turn over of the business is around Rs22 crore in a month of the annual festival. Though no magazine has completed 100 years of its continuous circulation, some in the market are more that 60 and 70 years old. Mauj is celebrating 85 years.
However, the magazines are not untouched by the economic slump in the market. “From 1945 to 1985 had been the golden era of the Diwali magazines, after which not only decline in advertisement, but also deterioration of content is witnessed. Even today, most of the magazines are brought out with the intention of making commercial gain,” said Sunil Karnik, editor of such a magazine.
Mukund Bhagwat of Mauj, however, does not admit that business is affected. “Any issue with quality content gets readership as well as the advertisements. I am not ready to admit that response to the tradition is on decline.”