THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The banner ‘Nasrani Deepika’ can vividly be seen on the frame of a sepia-tinted newspaper that dates back 125 years. The letters on the body can hardly be read. It is published from Mannanam and the newspaper in double royal size is a bimonthly. The numerals citing dates are in the old Malayalam. The display of the first copy of Deepika newspaper on the premises of VJT Hall is a cruise down the memory lane. The newspaper-cartoon exhibition is organised as part of the 125th year celebrations of the first newspaper, in Malayalam, Deepika. The paper was first published on 15 April 1887. The bimonthly later started publishing three times in a month. Later, it appeared on every Tuesdays and then on Fridays too and on January 3, 1927 it became a daily. Numerous frames exhibited here stand out as they bring back the memories etched in the history.
Each frame speaks of the turning points and memorable events in the past. “Deepika had played a remarkable role in the democratic process of Kerala. A majority of the annals have been converted into microfilms and the process is still going on,” T C Mathew, Associate Editor of Deepika says.
Copies from the second half of the 19th century to the early 21st century are on display. The change in ruling parties, significant wars, death of prominent personalities and much more appear on the pages. Assassination of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Bandaranaike, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, death of Lal Bahadur Shashtri, film actors Sathyan and Monisha are examples.
There are also curious samples in the collection. It is interesting to find ‘stop press’ printed on the newspaper. It was a time when technological advancements had not yet crept into the printing and publishing industry.
The annals therefore traverse through the technological advancements that the newspaper underwent. There are also copies that stand out for their curiosity factor. The front page of the newspaper on 23 March 1977 which reports the death of A K Gopalan, the veteran communist leader and the resignation of Indira Gandhi is one such.
The cartoons are worth a gaze or more as they showcase the prowess of cartoonist Raju Nair in brilliantly blending strokes and words. Cartoons rich in emotions and sparkling wordplay are humorous and thought provoking. Political tug-of-war and society have turned subjects for the artist.
As part of the celebrations, there was a live cartooning programme by Raju Nair, which was inaugurated by sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman apart from a cultural evening.
The exhibition is on till Wednesday.