Tuesday, April 16, 2013

100 Years Of A Bengali Monthly For Children

'Sandesh' - a Bengali monthly for children, running successfully in
Bengali language for the last 100 years. It was published for the
first time on Poila Boishakh, and in the Bengali year 1320 - just 100
years ago.

It is a monthly magazine for children, running by four generations of
a distinguished family of Kolkata. Upendra Kishore
Roychowdhury(1863-1915), first published the magazine 'Sandesh' on
Poila Boishakh, 1320 from his residence of Sukiya Street. So, on this
Poila Boishakh of 1420 the magazine has completed 100 years of
publication, although it was not published for a few years due to some
unavoidable reasons. However, it is a record that a magazine only for
children is being published for the past 100 years.

Upendra Kishore used to publish 'Sandesh' by the banner of U. Roy &
Sons till his early death at new residence of 100, Garpar Road in the
year 1915. After his death, his son Sukumar Roy handled the duties of
editor of this magazine for continuous 8 years (1915-1923) although he
was seriously ill for the last 2 and 1/2 years. After his death, elder
brother of Sukumar - Sri Subinoy Roy tried utmost to continue
publication of 'Sandesh' for next 3 years. The magazine was not
published during the period of Bengali year 1333 to 1338. The house of
100, Garpar Road alongwith printing business of U Roy & Sons was also
sold due to paucity of fund of their family. Sudhabindu Biswas - one
employee of U Roy & Sons, purchaseed the house and press and tried to
revive the magazine with the help of Subinoy from month Aswin of the
year 1338. But it was published continuously only for 4 years. Hence,
the childrens of 40s and 50s had to brought up without 'Sandesh'. And
it was my good luck to get in touch of newly revived 'Sandesh' since
my childhood as Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) - the son of Sukumar Roy,
tried hard to revive this mag after abandonment of about 25 years. He
was then the world-famous filmmaker of 'Apu trilogy' 'Jalsaghar'
'Debi' and 'Parash pathar'. Ray's mother Suprabha Debi was eager to
see the revival of 'Sandesh' but was not able to see it. Ray published
again the mag as editor with the help of his friend Kabi Subhas
(1919-2003) from the month of Boishakh of the year 1368. They occupied
a room at 172, Dharmatala Street for the magazine. It was a kind of
great revival and thus the mag became popular. But after two years,
the office shifted at the house of Nalini Das - 172/3, Rashbehari
Avenue. The management of this mag went to the cooperative of artists
and writers - 'Sukumar Sahitya Samabay' and editorship went to trio -
Satyajit Ray, Lila Majumdar and Nalini Das. Ray used to look into the
whole matter before the monthly publication of each issue of the mag.
All the illustrations were by him. And he had the caliber to run the
mag for continuous 31 years despite his brisk schedule of film making.
But in the year 1992, he died and after one year Nalini Das passed
away. Lila Majumdar alone with Bijoya Roy handled the editor's job for
continuous 10 years. But after the death of Lila Majumdar in 2003,
Sandip Roy - son of Satyajit Ray has taken the job of editor by the
help of a small editorial board.

It is a matter of pride that a magazine for children in a regional
language, passed 100 years of publication.
A. B.

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