Newspaper collector Shashanka Shekhar Dash says his recent collection is an Afghani paper brought out by a 14-year-old boy.
Browsing through a newspaper while sipping a cup of tea is a morning ritual in almost every household. But not too many would think of collecting newspapers found across the world. Shashanka Shekhar Dash, who claims to have collected 1,577 newspapers, has already been placed in the Indian Book of Records. This 33-year-old from Arangabad village in Odisha, is now aiming to set up a paper museum soon.
Ask him how he developed this habit and Dash says, “I started collecting newspapers in 2001 when I was associated with a media in Rourkela. Right now, I have 1,577 newspapers from 37 countries in 33 languages. I have 150 newspapers from abroad, 391 single day Indian dailies and one handwritten newspaper called Din Dalit that is published from Dumka in Jharkhand. I also have 13 newspapers with Orissa in the title, 12 newspapers with Odisha in the masthead and 14 newspapers with the name Utkala.”
Though Dash has never been abroad, he has still managed to collect publications from abroad. “Sometimes my friends have got the papers for me. On other cases, I’ve written directly to the newspaper offices. Most of them have obliged. It was most difficult to source a newspaper called Voice of the Children that is published from Afghanistan by 14-year-boy Hamid,” he says.
Isn’t preservation a problem? “I keep all the newspapers in separate polythene bags. I am also a keen collector of souvenirs, books and magazines. My dream is to set up a newspaper library and museum in my village. This, I’m sure, will be of great help to the researchers and scholars,” he signs off.