Today, 7th September 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of the weekly newspaper ‘Navajivan’ started by Mahatma Gandhi which was the precursor to the internationally reputed publishing house, Navajivan Trust.
On the Sunday of 7th September 1919, first issue of a weekly newspaper was published in Ahmedabad. The masthead proclaimed the name of the newspaper ‘Navajivan’ and included the name of the editor, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi right underneath it. The upper right corner mentioned the price of the individual copy which was 1 anna (1/16 of a rupee). The yearly subscription was 3 rupees and 8 paise, which was mentioned on the upper left corner of the front page.
The upper left corner, beneath the masthead, featured a small index of the articles in the newspaper. The newspaper was 16 pages long, with an editorial on the fourth page which explained the purpose of this newspaper in Mahatma Gandhi’s own words.
Originally a monthly, ‘Navajivan ane Satya’, under the editorship of Indulal Yagnik, was transformed into a weekly by the new editor, Gandhiji. It was printed at Natwar printing press at Khamasa, Ahmedabad. The monthly had 600 subscribers but when Gandhiji was named the new editor, 2500 more subscribed. There was a high demand for individual copies too. Hence, 5000 copies of the first issue were printed.
The name of this newspaper which literally means a new life, became the name of the publishing house Navajivan Trust started by Gandhiji a decade later. Today Navajivan Trust has grown into an internationally acclaimed publishing house, with it’s campus boasting a twin art gallery, a cafe, a khadi store, a library and a studio along with its press.
“ This (the newspaper) was relevant then and it is relevant today. And I don’t just mean the content but also the layout, the quality of journalism and the philosophy behind it. I encourage people to pick up a copy and just go through it.” said Vivek Desai, an acclaimed photographer and the managing trustee at Navajivan Trust.
Coincidentally, the exhibition titled Navajivan Nagar by acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist Ashok Ahuja also opens to the public at Satya Art Gallery at Navajivan Trust, today. But it is not part of the centenary celebration. In fact, there is no celebration in the way we understand it.
“ Our work is our celebration. And in that sense, we celebrate everyday. We will keep doing our work with integrity to the tenets on which this newspaper and this trust was built. We have been growing consistently and doing good to improve the society. And we plan to keep doing more.” he said.
Limited replicas of this historic newspaper are available at the Navajivan Trust and can be obtained on request. But they are limited so the enthusiasts should hurry and visit the campus soon.
To find out more about Navajivan Trust and their activities, you can visit the website www.navajivantrust.org or follow them on social media.
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