Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Newspapers and Journals – Children’s literature in Colonial India

The newspaper and the periodical played a significant role in developing children’s literature in pre-independence India.  Many newspapers kept aside a column or page every week for publishing children’s literature. Some journals and periodicals also followed this practice while some were dedicated to children’s literature. Both children and adults wrote for them. Songs, riddles, puzzles, short stories, serialization of novels and illustrations formed the content of these publications. Not only did these journals serve as a display for older talented writers but also helped discover many new writers. Well known journals exclusively for children include V.G. Apte’s pioneering effort, Ānand, from 1906, Sandesh published in Bengali from 1913, Shewak Bhojraj’s magazine, Gulistān, in Sindhi, and an Oriya magazine, Panchāmratha, launched in 1928.

        The best known and most influential of all children’s magazines during this time was Sandesh, primarily the work of one family, Upendrakishore Roychowdhury and his descendents. It was in Sandesh that Roychowdhury, his son Sukumar Ray and grandson Satyajit Ray, first published most of their works for children. Some of their writing which appeared here first are now classics of children’s literature - such as Roychowdhury’s Goopy Gyne Bāgha Byne, Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol and Satyajit Ray’s Feluda Series.  

Sandesh was not only instrumental in developing children’s taste for quality literature but also found, encouraged, and developed a number of talented authors and artists. Mahasweta Devi wrote delightful stories for children in Sandesh which have now been published in an English translation, Our Non-Veg Cow and Other Stories by Seagull Books.

1 comment:

  1. what a lovely post. I grew up reading Sandesh in Bangla. Still love Upendra Kishore and Sukumar Ray's works.