The wall of a news-taker

To what extent would a newspaper lover go to get his copies? Here's a teacher, Kalyan Kumar, with 15,000 in his collection.
Last Updated 18 October 2019, 19:30 IST

This primary school teacher had barely imagined that his habit of buying newspapers while waiting for the bus that took him to school would bring out a collector in him.

Meet Kalyan Kumar, a resident of Hirekattigenahalli in Chintamani taluk of Chikkaballapur district, and an assistant teacher of government higher primary school at Venkatagirikote.

What makes Kumar stand out from other teachers is his passion for collecting newspapers and periodicals of various languages of the state, country and abroad.

In the last 20 years, Kumar has collected as many as 15,000 papers.

Ask Kumar, who began his career as a teacher at Nimkayanahalli, how he conceived the idea of collecting newspapers and periodicals, and he recalls: “I had to do something to keep myself engaged while I waited for the bus. So I started buying newspaper and would read them till the bus arrived; then it grew into a collection.”

This became a ritual as he thought they were a unique resource in reconstructing the past.

In his collection, Kumar has newspapers published in various parts of the state in the last several decades. Some of these papers are a rarity.

His collection also includes papers published in over 25 states and different languages.

“Wherever I go, my first duty is to buy local newspapers,” Kumar remarks, as, “Old is gold!”

He has a copy of Vokkaligara Patrike published in 1913. He has copies of The Truth, Kannadati, Sadhvi, Janavai, Bhaktabandhu and Chitragupta.

He owns a copy of Thayinadu that cost Rs 1 anna in 1957, Sampadabhyudaya, which cost Rs 1 anna 9 paise per month in August 1912.

Kumar has a copy of The Truth when its price on Saturdays was Rs 4, besides Janavani that cost Rs 9 paise in 1938, Veerakersari that cost Rs 6 paise in October 1928, and Navabharata, priced Rs 4 anna in January 1952.

His collections also include dailies, weeklies, monthlies, fortnightlies and magazines published once in five months.

He has visited Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Kerala, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Punjab just to collect newspapers.

There are some from Russia, China, America, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, England, Germany, Burma, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Kumar has displayed his newspaper collections at exhibitions in Vishwa Kannada Sammelana, Kannada Sahitya Sammelana and Zilla Kannada Sahitya Sammelana.

He has held similar exhibitions at Badami, Kodagu, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru, Vijayapura, Dharwad and Davanagere.

The tale of Kumar’s habit gets fascinating...

He has been collecting match boxes stamped with different pictures across the states.

Kumar has also collected works of the Kannada poets Ranna, Pampa, Harihara and Raghavanka. He has stamps printed and coins circulated before and after the country’s independence. Themed stamps are also part of his collection.

In order to build curiosity in students to read newspapers, he has compiled special articles on several issues.

Considering his passion, a few people have sent him newspapers and periodicals. He has been felicitated by several organisations for his service.

Kalyan Kumar may be contacted on 8660161546.

(Published 18 October 2019, 19:30 IST)

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