BHUBANESWAR: Since the publication of first Oriya children’s magazine ‘Prabhat’ by Reba Ray from Cuttack in 1909 January, 700 magazines appeared on the literary scene, but currently around 40 are hitting the newsstands as many just disappeared over the decades. So is it all going well with the publishing world, especially with children’s literature? ‘Prabhat’ could run till 1914 which was a difficult time. But what about others who hogged the limelight and could not continue for long? While many publishers, editors and writers blame lack of patronage, support and quality write-ups as the stumbling blocks, many also pointed out lack of proper planning, coordination, networking, exposure and quality printing behind the mess.
Editor of ‘Phula Changudi’, freedom fighter Suryamani Panda feels it is a tough job to run a literary magazine, especially children’s magazines.
Into the ninth year of its publication, Panda at times has to bear the cost partly from his freedom fighter’s pension so that the magazine reaches the newsstands on time. Rabindra Biswal, who edits ‘Shamuka’ from Balakati, is of similar view.
Dibyajyoti Pani, who edits and publishes ‘Sishu Bazar’ from Choudwar, feels the corporates or established business houses are showing ‘step-motherly attitude’ towards children’s publications. ‘‘At times, it is easy to convince them on getting sponsorship for general magazines, but for children’s publications they quiz us unnecessarily on market response and returns, which is humiliating,’’ he explains.
Gobinda Chandra Chand of ‘Ati Apanara Tiki Pilati’ feels the success of a literary magazine lies with the networking, making its presence felt in district headquarter towns and to ‘reach readers’ at grassroot level.
While Sarala Patri of ‘Nandankanan’ feels commitment is the prime factor for an editor or publisher to be successful in children’s publication, city-based writer Janmenjay Pradhan — whose ‘Sishu Kalam’ has ceased publication — thinks improper planning, lack of pre-publication budgeting and inadequate market research are to be blamed. For Sushanta Kumar Das’ ‘Sishu Swapna’, which was an ‘inspirational endeavour’ for Harekrushna Mahatab’s ‘Mina Bazar’, stopped printing after a two-year run in 1979 in Rayagada.
But Das still hopes to return to the scene in future.
The writers and editors exchanged views while participating at the ‘patrika hata’ here yesterday organised by ‘Kadambinee’.
For all of us, who grew up with ‘Sishu Lekha’, ‘Mina Bazar’, ‘Janha Mamu’, ‘Mana Pabana’ and ‘Sansara’ — seeing this retrograde metamorphosis is a painful affair.
Perhaps it may need another movement to take Oriya children’s literature to new heights.