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Little goes big with century

Novelist Vladimir Nabokov had famously said literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.

Bengali little magazine Kalimati, which is being published from Jamshedpur since 1978, embodies the passion the Russian author spoke of. The literary magazine, which survived for 35 years despite lack of patronage and dwindling readership, is all set to celebrate the release of its 100th issue on Sunday.

The centenary issue will be released at a function in Calcutta. The event will be attended by prominent literary personalities and people associated with the Bengali little magazine movement.

Speaking to The Telegraph, editor-publisher Kajal Sen said the function would be held at Mahabodhi Society Hall near College Square.

“We have hosted many events in Jamshedpur, but attendance was thin. We hope that the turnout will be more if the function is organised in Calcutta as our contributors and well-wishers there will attend it,” he said.

Launched in 1978, Kalimati has seen tough days when lack of advertisement revenues and lesser readers forced many of its contemporaries to go out of print. There were times when the magazine was published only twice a year, recalled Sen, who teaches Bengali at Workers’ College.

Asked what made inspired him to go on, Sen proudly said: “My grandfather Jaladhar Sen was a celebrated writer and Tagore’s contemporary. I have literature in my genes. How could I let this magazine die!”

Kalimati, however, has kept up with the changing times. The magazine went online in 2011 with Kobitaarkalimati, a blogzine devoted to poetry.

As of now, the blogzine has received 24,426 page views and 239 members, who engage in literary discussions besides sharing poems.

Next to come was Kalimatirjhurogolpo, an online venture that brought mini-stories, an almost forgotten genre, back into the mainstream.

The blog currently boasts 8, 524 views. Then came Kalimationline, a complete magazine with eight sections encompassing a wide array of literary genres. The 10th issue of the magazine was posted earlier this week.

“The phase of bringing out regular issues in print is over. From now on, we will bring out special, theme-based issues in print and otherwise continue with the online platform. We have to keep pace with the changing times, after all,” Sen said.

Sen has also branched out into book publishing and has brought out 27 titles so far.