Bengali magazine takes virtual route to reconnect - kalimati to draw youth & NRI audience on web

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By M. GANGULY in Ranchi
  • Published 3.09.08

Ranchi, Sept. 3: Literature never dies. Only its medium changes.

Call it an old habit that refuses to die or an ethereal romance with literature — some enthusiasts continue to bring out Bengali literary magazines against all odds. And now, they are going online, too!

Kalimati, one such magazine published from Jamshedpur for the past 30 years has launched its portal last month.

“Over 130 interested persons have visited our site in less than three weeks since the launch,” claimed Kajal Sen, the editor of the magazine. He expects more readers with time.

But the online edition has not affected the print version. Kalimati also brought out its 91st issue recently. The content of a few issues are available online and gradually all the copies will be uploaded on the site, he added.

Sen recently met Rohan Kuddus, a software engineer based in Bangalore, who is also a literature enthusiast.

“It was then that we started thinking about publishing Kalimati on the web,” Sen said.

With its online presence, Kalimati hopes to connect with the youth. The young Bengalis of the state have not pursued their mother tongue as a subject in school and hence are not naturally inclined towards it. This has created a void in the readership.

“It is frightening that children are now reading Tagore in English. They even sing Rabindra Sangeet using a Roman script. There may come a time when the Bengali community outside Bengal may not even read the language at all,” Sen said.

The website would serve as a platform for an intellectual exchange for Bengalis scattered all over the globe, deprived of books and journals in their mother tongue.

“I usually don’t find many magazines to read. Online editions will surely help me going through the contents,” said Siddhartha Majumdar, an interested reader.

Kaurab, the most prominent Bengali magazine published from the state, had already launched its website sometime ago. It had once stopped bringing out print editions after completing 100 issues and was only available online. “But they are back in print,” Sen added. publishes Bengali poetry and pieces by modern writers. It also carries interviews of Bengali writers and reviews on poetry by international writers, which are also available in English.