Sometimes, he works at brick kilns, sometimes he fishes in the river and sometimes he works in the crop fields to support his family. In between all these activities Hasan Parvez (39) publishes a four-page newspaper, handwritten by himself.
The newspaper titled ‘Andharmanik’ portrays the life stories of local people. Hasan Parvez from Pashchim Sonatala village of Nilganj union in Patuakhali’s Kalapara upazila talked to Prothom Alo about his newspaper and more.
What made you think of publishing a newspaper, that too a handwritten one?
I publish this newspaper to highlight rural people’s success stories along with their sorrows and sufferings. There is one other reason. I write poems. But, I couldn’t get any newspaper to publish them.
So, I thought if I launch a newspaper on my own I could publish my poems there too. My newspaper is being published since 1 May 2019.
Why did you name your newspaper ‘Andharmanik’?
I named my newspaper in the name of the river ‘Andharmanik’ that flows through my upazila. Even I added a slogan, ‘Adhare Manikyer Shondhan’ (finding a gem in the dark).
Who are the readers of your newspaper?
At first, I only tried to make the people of Pashchim Sonatala village read the newspaper. Now, people of neighboring Adampur, Fatehpur, Hossainpur, Chadpara, Nijkata, and Tungibaria villages also read my handwritten newspaper.
Newspapers need reporters or journalists for news collection. Plus, it requires more staffs.
Around 15 people work with me. You can consider them as my newspersons. There are some carpenters, some tailors, some farmers, some labourers and some housewives among them.
They inform me about the incidents they notice around the village. And I write these down in news format. None of them take any money for this.
How do you publish the newspaper?
My newspaper gets published once every two months. I write every report in my own hands except just the headlines, which are computer composed. After writing the original copy of the newspaper myself, I make 200 to 250 photocopies of it.
I was unable to publish several editions, for various reasons including financial. It would have been easier for me if I had a photocopier, a camera or phone to take pictures and a computer.
What is the costing and do you make any earning out of it?
The costing per copy of newspaper is Tk 7. It takes Tk 1,400 to Tk 1,750 to publish a single edition. Each copy sells at Tk 10. If I can manage to sell all the copies, I make a profit of about Tk 500.
Did any of the reports published in your newspaper grabbed people’s attention?
I had written a report on a 9-year-old girl named Rubina. The girl’s family used to keep her mother Dolly Begum chained by the ankle as she had mental illness. The family was extremely poor. I portrayed their sad life in my newspaper.
Later, the local upazila administration provided the family with a house along with two decimals of land. I feature the success stories of my village people more in my newspaper.
Where did you study?
I was supposed to take my SSC exams in 1996 but I couldn’t attend the exams due to financial crisis. Later in 2015, I passed the SSC exams under Bangladesh Open University. I passed my HSC (vocational) exams from a private institute in 2017. Now, I want to finish my graduation as well from the Open University.
Who else is there in your family?
I have my wife and two daughters in my family. My elder daughter is studying in Class One.
Publishing a newspaper doesn’t support your family financially, does it?
I publish the newspaper because it gives me joy. I do other works to support my family. There is no shame in admitting that sometimes I work in the brick kilns. Sometimes, I fish in the river, work as a domestic help for wealthy families of the village and do agricultural work to survive.
For how long do you want to publish the newspaper?
I’ll continue as long as I can. And I’ll continue publishing my newspaper in the handwritten version. However, I wish to increase the page numbers. Currently, I’m using the veranda of my own home as the office. I hope to get a separate office for my newspaper in future.