News > Indian Armenians > Aztarar monthly published again in Calcutta after long interruption
Aztarar (Azdarar) was the first ever Armenian newspaper (originally published in Madras, 1794, by Rev. Haroutiun Shmavonian).
The presentation of the Aztarar monthly's first issue, which was released in Calcutta on 24 December 2007 after over a two-century interruption, took place at the National Library of Armenia on 18 April 2008.
The chairman of the Union of Writers of Armenia Levon Ananian called the republication of the monthly a heroic deed, while the intitiative of Aztarar's editor Martin Sargsian, who committed himself to this cause, overcoming financial and moral difficulties was called a patriotic and sacrid action.
"Diasporan Armenians are now becoming estranged: our compatriots in other countries speak Persian, Arabic, Indian... Wherever they go, Armenians should carry with then their school, church and newspaper, which play a significant role in the life of their colony," editor M. Sargsian said.
According to him, being aware of the newspaper's importance for Indian Armenians, they undertook republication of this monthly. Materials are mainly obtained through local intellectuals, devoted and gifted Armenians, as well as from the Internet. "We received 423 letters in a month, which allowed us to print the second issue too," he said.
The new monthly retains the philosophical and historical orientation of Aztarar first released on 16 October 1794 in Madras. According to the editor, the only difference is that although we have independent homeland and statehood now, new tasks have arisen with time, even though they are somewhat consistent with the philosophy of Aztarar's founder Haroutiun Shmavonian (see brave photo below): to act in the name of strengthening the statehood and preserving the national identity.
The monthly is published in Armenian and English and mostly discusses problems of Indian Armenians.
New Aztarar also contains articles about Javakhk and the Artsakh freedom war.
After a two-century interval, in 1956 John Ananian published Aztarar in English as a bulletin for 6 years but it was not successful. Later Mesrop Taghidian's made another attempt which was not crowned with success either.
The montly's current circulation is 1,000 which has a tendency to grow.
Source: "Noyan Tapan", April 19, 2008
The famous bell-tower of the Madras Armenian Church of St. Mary (Surb Astvatsatsin)
built in Madras in 1712.
The grave of Rev. Haroutiun Shmavonian, publisher of the “Aztarar”