Periodicals – Pathetic Plight
THE 20TH CENTURY has seen a flourish of periodicals in Tamil Nadu. Visionaries foresaw the potential for expanding leadership in line with expanding literacy. There were several attempts at launching magazines with literary flourish, short stories, poems and serlalising novels. AnandaVikatan commenced publication 94 years ago. With vision SS Vasan, who acquired it, nurtured it with rich content and innovation. It employed writers like R Krishnamurthy (Kalki), R Mahadevan (Devan) and brilliant managers like T Sadasivam [TS). Who took it to great heights.
In 1941 the duo, Kalki and TS, launched Kalki with the support of MS Subbulakshmi. In 1948, focusing on the youth, Kumudam was launched by two brilliant young postgraduates in law. Dozens of other magazines sprouted. But these three expanded and flourished for decades.
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on periodicals. With the lockdown of printing, postal and railway services the entire distribution chain got disrupted. At the tail end of advertising, these suffered the worst due to the thinning of advertising budgets. Strangely, Tamil Nadu also shut down accreditation and allocation of advertisements by the government for periodicals.
The venerated Kalki suffered the worst and announced closure of the print edition. Several other publications like PuthiyaThalaimurai, Sportstar of The Hindu group also ceased publication.
Particularly tragic is the closure of the print edition of Kalki with which Rajaji, TKC and other stalwarts of Tamil Nadu were associated. Multifaceted editor RK had presented several brilliant novels on the hoary history of the Tamils, Cholas and the Pallavas in particular. In fact, several lakh readers owe their knowledge and interest in Tamil history and pride in Tamil culture,architecture, music … to Kalki. Of course, the staunch congressman RK was actively involved in the freedom movement and was a connoisseur of music.
The famous couple MS Subbulakshmi-T Sadasivam, also built a national stature for this publication.After a glorious run for close to eight decades the stoppage of Kalki print edition is a sign of the decline of the print medium.