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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tamil Spiritual Magazine crosses 1 Lakh mark - The Ramakrishna Vijayam

In an environment dominated by atheist inspired political ideology and popular media dominated by commercialism and movies, it is no small achievement for a spiritual Tamil magazine to cross the 1 lakh mark in circulation! That is precisely what the Ramakrishna Vijayam - the monthly magazine from the Ramakrishna Mission has achieved come August!

The popular Tamil printed media is an epitome of consumerist mediocrity and the highest circulating magazines are those that have as their mainstay movies, movie stars, their on-screen and off-screen life, their conflicts in life ranging from their problems with footwear to matrimonial issues, their celebrated bodies and its different attire, an editorial, half a page politics, two one page stories inspired by movies, questions and answers by movie stars, columns by ex-movie stars and if there is any further space left, serious spiritual column by a 'spiritual' guru of a movie star! Some years back when there was an aggressive consolidation of the market the group of printed publications managed by Maran brothers raised the levels of one-upmanship in consumerist promotion by providing such alluring free gifts to accompany some of the magazines such as lozenges, half a spoon oil sachets, face powder for the little fingers, sample soaps of the kind you find in cheap restaurant toilets, washing scrubs, etc. completely subverting the very purpose why people bought a weekly or monthly magazine.

Such a trend of brazen insult to the reader became so popular that the supposed spiritual and cultural magazines of Tamilnadu (there a few such and oh! yes, there is one of these by the Maran brothers too!!) started offering spiritual free goodies, such as talisman that will bring different kinds of fortune in different metallic combinations, water from Holy Ganga, agarbathis, etc. Not to talk of the free pull out poster of Gods and Godesses with each issue!

It is seen in this context that Ramakrishna Vijayam stands tall above all other spiritual, cultural magazines in this state. The magazine responds to issues of students, teachers, religious practitioners and spiritual aspirants all through a judicious mix of content, rich in illustrations (some of the most reputed artists of Tamilnadu have drawn for this magazine), well brought out and guarateed for the entire family. I have seen many elders read up the illustrated story part of the magazine before they proceed with the remaining magazines, there are die-hard fans of the spiritual question answer section (this section alone has been published by another publishing house), there are those who eagerly await the student section and many have felt inspired through the social awareness stories carried by this magazine.

For the records this magazine has been published for over 83 years which means it has seen the raise and eventual domination of the discourse of atheism in Tamilnadu! The Ramakrishna Mission celebrates the crossing of the 1 lakh mark through a special celebration on the 22nd July Sunday. The programme is slated for the afternoon and charecteristic of the Mission, the special magazine release will be preceded by chanting from the Bhagavat Gita. If you have ever thought that spiritual literature of quality is not available in Tamilnadu, time to revise opinion, the readership growth of Vijayam indeed is an indication of not merely the quality of the magazine, but, a growth in the quest for good quality media by significant section of Tamil population.

Call the Ramakrishna Vijayam at the Ramakrishna Math premises at Mylapore for further details during office hours: 24621110.

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