Re: paata chandamama kathalu

Bapa Rao (brao@tis.com)
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 10:29:46 -0700 (PDT)


> 
> Others have spoken of reading about the world's classics ("bhuvana 
> sundari" was The Iliad, and "roopadharuni yaatralu" was The Odyssey; they 
> also translated many of Shakespeare's plays).  What impressed me most as 
> an adult, was when I started making a concerted effort to read various 
> Sanskrit classics (in English translation, which was what was available 
> in our university library), I realized that I had read practically all of 
> them in chadamama!  They published many plays by bhaasa and others, 
> including "mruchcha katikam".  I don't remember them publishing any of 
> Kalidasa's plays, however.
> 
> When I look at the current issues, it does seem to me that the magazine 
> is more intended for adults than children, both in the themes and content 
> of the stories (some times the illustrations also).  I have come to the 

I agree only in part. With several lengthy breaks, I have continued to be
a subscriber of Chandamama. Seems to me that there are more attagaru-
kaTnaalu type stories than I used to remember as a kid. And of course,
the illustrators have changed. But I don't think the style and presentation
has changed much at all from the one that appealed to me as a kid.

> regretful conclusion that it is not a particularly good resource for 
> children growing up in the U. S. 

I won't disagree with you, but would like to explore why this may be so.
An explanation I have heard from an experienced friend is that the world
of chandamama stories is far removed from the world of Indo-US children.
I find myself somewhat unsatisfied by this explanation. Basically, 
chandamama stories (other than the adventure and history serials) are
set in an idyllic never-never spacetime that is recognizably Indian, but 
isn't like any real historical period. But most literature exhibits this
property, in the reading, to some extent. I remember enjoying children's 
versions of various American and European classics as a kid even though 
the setting of those stories was every bit (or more) as exotic for me 
as the locale of a chandamama story might be for an indian kid in the US. 
Any insights?

Another old-time children's magazine was balamitra, edited by one
"baabji." It was much less disciplined in quality and production (also
less staid in style) than chandamama, but it too brought us a lot of 
world classics, including the tales of King Arthur, Iliad/Odyssey, other 
Greek tales, Norse mythology etc. 


Bapa Rao