KOCHI: A century ago, in October 1918, the first Ernakulam College Magazine was born. The issue published by Ernakulam College later rechristened the Maharaja's College would go on to mark the foundation of a rich platform which would mould hundreds of writers and thinkers who inspired a literary renaissance in Kerala.
"Only a handful of colleges all over India had magazines then. The first issue was published to mark the 'shastipoorthi' of the then Cochin king Rama Varma. It was a quarterly issued in the months of
October, January, April and July. However, it was bought out by teachers and a governing council. The articles were mainly written by people from outside Kerala and students had very little to do in it," says Vinod Kumar Kallolickal, assistant professor, History Department.
To celebrate the eventful centenary year of the first magazine, Maharaja's College will organise a series of programmes, including exhibitions of previous issues. The function to be held on Monday will be
inaugurated by Archives Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran.
Initially, the magazine wasn't free of cost. Every subscriber had to pay C25 towards a lifetime membership. An amount of C2 was charged for general subscribers while C1 from students of the college. Topics of general interest, including social and educational issues and World War I and its repercussions back home, were detailed in subsequent issues.
However, it was not until the late 1960s that students began contributing to the magazine. Till then, it was done by teachers. Once students took over, the content underwent a sea change. Criticism and reviews started replacing routine social commentaries.
"The content was issue-based, intense and very critical of authorities. The power of youth was in full display," says Sumi Joy, a professor at the college. Over the years, the magazine turned a platform for many literary icons, including Leelavathi teacher, Balachandran Chullikkad and Subhash Chandran, to foray into the world of letters.
It courted controversies too, like in 2015 the year the college turned autonomous. But, its voice only got louder and more intense over the decades."Along with the centenary celebrations, we also plan to come up with a comprehensive historical account of the college's history in association with the State Archives Department. The work is on," said Vinod Kumar Kallolickal.