Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chandamama then and now

On completing 60 years, Publisher and MD Vishwanath Reddi shares the journey of Chandamama Pvt Ltd. for our readers…Early years…Chandamama was the brainchild of two visionaries of Madras (now Chennai)—Mr. B Nagi Reddi, who later became a leading film producer in South India and who promoted the largest film studio in Asia, and Mr. Chakrapani, a litterateur in Telugu, Hindi and Bengali.They were volunteers in India‘s freedom movement and were anxious about the children of the country who, they found, had all along been denied much knowledge of their motherland—its heritage, hoary past, traditions and culture. They realised that the best vehicle to take children closer to these aspects of India would be through a magazine and to impart information through stories narrated in a simple spoken language supplemented by illustrations. In the ‘30s and ‘40s, there were no magazines for children; even most of the books available were of no literary value.The two friends launched Chandamama in July 1947 – first in Telugu language, followed by an edition in Tamil in the same month. When the two magazines began rolling out month after month, demands soon rose for editions in other languages.
Mile stones…It is a universally accepted fact that India is a land of stories. However, till Chandamama appeared in the print media as a colorful, multilingual story magazine, many of those stories had remained beyond the reach of children. Chandamama can boldly claim itself, perhaps, as the key player in promoting children‘s literature with a multi-layer national spirit. By promoting the use of spoken language without hurting the literary flavor of many a language in India, Chandamama had played a pioneering role in taking children closer to their mother-tongue and cultural heritage.
Mr. B Nagi Reddi’s words….Our nation, too, celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Independence this year, and it is indeed sad to observe its apathy towards children. Whether it is children‘s literature, children‘s theatre, children‘s films or children‘s welfare, they come next only to all other programmes and priorities. The concept woven round the magazine has been preserved intact all these 60 years.


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