Sandesh (magazine) - The Third and Current Phase of The Magazine

The Third and Current Phase of The Magazine

In 1961, the magazine was revived under the editorialship of Satyajit Ray and Subhas Mukhopadhyay. Many of Satyajit Ray's writings were first published in this magazine. One of his most famous stories for the magazine was Bankubabur Bandhu (Banku Babu's Friend or Mr. Banku's Friend), a Bengali science fiction story he had written in 1962 and which gained popularity among Bengalis in the early 1960s. Ray also introduced his famous characters Feluda and Professor Shonku in short stories he wrote for Sandesh.(1)(2)

From 1963, Satyajit's aunt, the writer Leela Majumdar became the honorary joint editor of the magazine in place of Sri Mukhopadhyay. From 1963 Satyajit Ray formed a non-profit literary co-operative, "Sukumar Sahitya Samavaya Samity Ltd.", and since then this Co-operative has been running the magazine.

From 1974, Satyajit's cousin Ms Nalini Das became honorary joint editor of the magazine, and she was in effect the Executive Editor of the magazine in this period, while her husband Asokananda Das was the honorary Publisher. In 1992-93, the magazine faced a crisis when Satyajit Ray, Nalini Das and Asokananda Das all died within a period of 14 months. From 1994, Leela Majumdar also became too ill to be able to continue as the Executive Editor.

From 1993-94, Sandip Ray, son of Satyajit Ray, became the Joint Editor of the magazine and Amitananda Das, son of Nalini Das became the Publisher. But the inexperienced team could not meet the challenge of the changing times—due to the competition from comics, TV, cable TV, and books with coloured illustrations; the total circulation of children's magazines dropped steadily in this period. "Sandesh" remained a Black & White magazine, and it was a struggling one, incurring losses and skipping issues.

In 2003, The Ford Foundation gave a grant to "Sandesh" to make the magazine viable.{3} Due to administrative failure of the co-operative, though the magazine had many coloured pages and became much more attractive visually; it was not viable financially. Between July 2005 and April 2006, the magazine missed several issues, and since May 2006 it skipped four issues.

In August 2006, a new attempt was made to revive the magazine.{4} Since then the magazine is being published regularly but somewhat irregularly. Every year the Saradiya Annual number has over 300 pages and the literary quality of the stories and other contributions are generally highly appreciated. In the last two years, however, the magazine could publish only three issues per year—each issue having 96 to 160 pages.

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