If we look at the history of the development of children’s literature in the leading languages of India like Assamese, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil and Telugu, we will notice a heavy reliance on the rich oral and folk traditions of the country. The proper printing of children’s books began with the coming of the missionaries, mainly starting with textbooks and then venturing out to include translations from tales like the Panchatantra or Hitopadesha. The colonial period also saw an increase in the number of translations from western works — both classics as well as folk/fairy-tales. Furthermore, mostly under the supervision of the English, children’s magazines were also established in these different languages (later to be appropriated for the country’s nationalist agenda) that further promoted the initial period of growth of the genre in the respective language. In Tamil there was Bale Deepihai (1840), in Assamese there was Arunodoi (1846) and Jonaki (1889), in Marathi there was Balbodhmewa (1872), in Gujarati there was Baljivan (1919), in Malayalam there was Balan (1948), in Hindi there was Bal Bodhini (1874) among others, and so on and so forth in various other Indian languages. These proved to be important tools in inculcating a space for young readership, as well as shaping their minds, thereby emerging as mirrors to the minds of Indian children’s writers and publishers and their concerns with caste, class, national identity, tradition, modernity, and progress.
What are those periodicals you read growing up in India? What are those periodicals from your part of the country that we hardly know about? How did these periodicals shape your childhood and adulthood? Write to us! Tell us about these lesser known but locally popular (or obscure) magazines that the mainstream hardly talks about. ACLiSA is eager to learn more. Send us your thoughts, notes, articles, or essays to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Feature Submission: Periodicals” in its subject line. We will be accepting your submissions till 20th August 2023, which will then be compiled and published on our website as part of our special feature on Indian children’s periodicals.