Newspapers might be the bread and butter of journalists but for Shashanka Shekhar Dash, these sheets of paper hold the ticket to name and fame. Aiming to get certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, Dash also known as the paperboy, has been collecting newspapers of various languages from across the world.
A native of Arangabad village under Bari block of Jajpur district, for Dash, what developed as a pastime in 2001 went to become his passion. He started the habit of collecting newspapers in 2001 and has so far, collected 2908 newspapers in 53 languages, including Odia and tribal language like Santhali (Ol Chiki script). Dash, who has already been made it to the India Book of Records and Limca Book of Records, is now eyeing an entry in the Guinness World Records.
[caption id="attachment_208119" align="alignleft" width="300"] Shashanka Shekhar Dash displays his collection at an exhibition.[/caption]
“Currently, I have 2908 newspapers from 65 countries in 53 languages. I have 417 newspapers from abroad. I have 1252 newspapers published from Odisha in various languages. I also have some rare publications like Balaknama, a monthly magazine, both in English and Hindi, written by street children of New Delhi, Khabar Lahariya, a weekly newspaper in Bundeli (local dialect of Bundelkhand) that is run by a group of rural women and Din Dalit a handwritten newspaper published from Dumka in Jharkhand," Dash said.
Dash keeps the newspapers in separate polythene bags. Besides newspapers, he has assembled over 5,000 books, magazines and souvenirs.
I had bagged the Limca Book of Records in 2012 for collecting largest number of newspapers in a single day. Now, I want to be enlisted in the Guinness Book of World Records. I have already applied for it in February this year.
Dash further said the concerned officials have received my application and started verification and other required process meant for the same. I hope they would entitle me to the recognition very soon.
This apart, Dash also plans to set up a newspaper museum at his village in the name of his father Dolagobinda Dash.
Dash, who had earlier tried his luck with journalism, is also a dedicated social activist and is quite popular in his village. Local residents are quite excited over Dash's unique passion that has brought recognition also to the entire village.
"We are happy that his hobby has already entered the Limca Book of Records and we pray that his name also enters the Guinness Book of World Records," said Prakash Chandra Sahu, a local villager.