Distance equals Time

Operating out of Mumbai's Royal Institute of Science,Srishtidnyan was an endeavour to promote better understanding of science.

Written by AmritaJain | Published: July 18, 2011 4:09:27 am

Srishtidnyan,one of the oldest regional science magazines of Pune,came out with its 1000th issue earlier this month

In the year 1928,this magazine’s first edition was launched. Operating out of Mumbai’s Royal Institute of Science,Srishtidnyan was an endeavour to promote better understanding of science. When the editorial team came together at the Mahatma Phule Museum to plan for it’s 1001th issue,it was like the perfect tale of perseverance playing out. It was G R Paranjape,principal of the Royal Institute of Science,who had started this magazine,after the idea struck him in Germany. He had been to Europe during World War II,where he saw how the locals were being educated about science with the help of the local language. He came back to implement the idea in Mumbai and then later on in Pune.

This month,Srishtidnyan released its 1000th issue – a feat that not many regional magazines have managed. Editor Rajeev Vilekar,shares,“When the magazine had started,there were a lot of other regional magazines that people were reading. But not many of them survived. In fact,between 1989-1994,the economic conditions in this industry were so precarious,that around 300 Marathi magazines stopped their circulation.” But Srishtidnyan persisted. “It’s not that we weren’t under any economic strain. In fact,we had stopped getting government grants and even advertisements had gone down. At that time,we had to pool in to keep the magazine alive.”

In the July issue,one gets to see the names of more than 50 contributors who have written down their experiences. The magazine covers topics ranging from rockets to paleontology to mathematics. There are also columns by specialists. Vidyadhar Borkar,who is a retired scientist and geologist,has known the magazine for almost a lifetime. “I used to read it when I was in school. Today,I contribute to it. What I find really commendable about the magazine is the way it has continued. But the magazine’s circulation has not remained the same and that is something to lament about.”

Around five years back,the magazine sold 5000 copies. Today,it has come down to less than 1000. “This,I believe,is one of the oldest Marathi magazines in Pune. When other magazines were folding up,it survived. But for how much longer?” Borkar also writes a column for the magazine called Aagala Vegula Gruhapath. He also formulates interesting quizzes for the readers.

Srishtidnyan’s legacy features a lot of important names. “Right from Dr Vidyasagar from Pune University to Dr Anil Mahabar and Dr K K Kshirsagar from Bee Research Institute,we have had good contribution from the science fraternity,” says Vilekar. The magazine today is read by students who are planning to give their entrance exams and research. The Phule museum has also been supporting the magazine,and is the home of all the issues that have been printed so far. “When we were grappling with financial problems,the museum authorities stepped in to help. They gave us space and other support,” says Vilekar,who has been the director of the museum for sometime.

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