APART FROM lights, sweets and firecrackers, Maharashtra has a distinctive tradition of ‘Diwali Anks’, which are special magazines released during Diwali, a literary treat for Marathi readers, amid the festivity. After a sluggish two years of the pandemic, they are back in the market with newer schemes such as combination offers, additional audio-books and digital ‘Diwali Pahat’ programmes, embracing digital marketing to reach a larger audience.
The tradition of reading the ‘Diwali Ank’ has been dear to many Marathi households. It evolved during simpler times when adults and children spent their Diwali vacation reading various magazines that ranged from social, philosophical, health and women’s issues to caricatures, humour and children’s special issues.
A century-old tradition of Maharashtra definitely went through a sluggish two-year period during the pandemic. “Past two years have been difficult for some. There were a few who could not release the issue or had to shut down. While the established ones strived through, sluggish response in advertisements has been an issue for Diwali magazines for a while and it has been a period of struggle for the past two years. But now bookings have already started and publication houses are providing attractive schemes,” Arun Shevate, editor of popular ‘Ruturanga’ magazine, said.
The Granthali Prakashan, a publication house, has decided to continue its scheme devised during the pandemic to sell a set of five Diwali magazines at a discounted rate. “This was started during the pandemic for convenience and was really appreciated by readers. We have already started receiving bookings,” said Sudesh Hinglaspurkar, trustee of the publication house. He added that from this year, the set of five magazines will have a combination offer of additional audio-stories and digital access to its ‘Diwali Pahat’ programme.
‘Diwali Pahat’ is an integral part of Diwali tradition in state where people enjoy songs, music and other performing arts.
Hinglaspurkar said the idea of making it available digitally for audiences came during his visit to the US last year. “The idea is to conduct a ‘Diwali Pahat’ programme early, shoot it and make the video available for registered audiences on Diwali days. A special QR code will be given to customers registering for the group offer. The customer will be able to give this QR code to a limited number of people as a Diwali gift,” he said.
Social media platforms have become marketing places for these magazines. Raviprakash Kulkarni, a journalist who has been writing on Marathi literature, said, “Even as it is said that the culture of reading is dying, these magazines continue to strive through by adapting to newer times. In fact, awareness about Diwali magazines is increasing with social media marketing. WhatsApp advertising has become a great platform for Diwali magazines to reach more people.”
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