“Thanthi means telegram. Dina Thanthi means “daily telegram”. Over the last 75 years, the traditional telegram, delivered by the postal department, has become obsolete and gone out of existence. But this ‘telegram’ continues to grow every day. Such is the power of a noble idea, backed by hard work and commitment.
The Dina Thanthi has completed 75 glorious years.
I commend the contributions of Si Pa Aditanar, ST Aditanar, and Balasubramanian ji, for the successful journey so far. Their stellar efforts over the last seven and a half decades have made Thanthi one of the biggest media brands. Not just in the state, but in the entire country. I also compliment the management and staff of the Thanthi group for this success. I am told that the Dina Thanthi offers this option today, through seventeen editions, not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Bengaluru, Mumbai and even in Dubai.
This remarkable expansion over 75 years is a tribute to the visionary leadership of Thiru Si Pa Aditanar, who began this newspaper in 1942. Newsprint was a rare commodity in those days. But, he began the newspaper by printing on paper made by hand, from straw. In those times, it brought them political awareness and information. People used to throng tea shops to read this newspaper. Thus began the voyage that continues till today, when its balanced coverage makes the Dina Thanthi popular, from a daily wage earner, to the highest political functionary in the state. I am happy to learn that the Thanthi group has instituted awards for promoting Tamil Literature in the name of its founder Thiru Aditanar. I whole-heartedly congratulate the awardees: Tamilanban, IraiAnbu and VG Santhosham. I am sure this recognition will be a motivating factor for those who have taken to writing as a noble profession. Many of the newspapers that shaped the discourse of freedom struggle were vernacular newspapers. In fact, the then British Government was fearful of the Indian Vernacular Press. It was to muzzle vernacular newspapers that the Vernacular Press Act was enacted in 1878.
In our diverse nation, the role of vernacular newspapers remains as important today, as it was then. They carry content in a language that is easily understood by the people. Very often, they cater to vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups. Their strength, their impact and thus, their responsibility, can never be under-estimated. They are the messengers of the intent and policies of the government in far-flung areas. Equally, they are the torch-bearers of the thoughts, feelings and emotions of our people. We must never forget that successive generations performed the duties required of them, towards society and the nation. That is how we achieved freedom. After independence, the rights of citizens gained importance in public discourse. Unfortunately, over time we seem to have neglected our individual and collective sense of duty.
This has in some way contributed to several ills that plague our society today. The need of the hour is to create a mass awakening towards engaged, responsible and aware citizens. The civic sense of entitlement must be suitably balanced by a civic sense of responsible engagement. This should happen, of course, through our education system and the conduct of our political leaders. But the media too has a key role to play here. In this context, it is indeed heartening to note that today, among our vibrant print media, some of the largest selling newspapers are published in the regional languages. The Dina Thanthi is of course, one among them.”