Newspapers played an important role in developing prose writing and in creating reading habit among the general public. Magazines built upon this and took the development process much farther. Longer articles in the magazines provided scope for delving deeper into a subject. Their relatively high frequency was conducive for ongoing debates and for the refinement of ideas through reader reactions. The articles were shorter and lighter than the contents of a book which attracted a larger readership interested in thought and information. The magazines also became a vehicle for literary entertainment. Writers found that writing in a magazine helped them in developing a theme which could ultimately be shaped into a book.
The first Odia periodical – Kujibara Patra – was a hand written one published during the 1769 by Sadhu Sundar Das, the Mahanta of Kujibabra Math. The first printed magazine, Gyanaruna, appeared in 1849 after the establishment of printing press at Cuttack by the Christian Missionaries in 1836. This was followed by Prabodha Chandrika in 1856 and Arunodaya in 1861. All three were monthlies and were published for less than three years. Unfortunately no copies of the first and the third exist today.
‘Utkal Darpan’ appeared in 1873 from Baleswar as a monthly and is considered as the first Literary magazine in Odia language.This and the ones following it – for example, ‘Utkal Madhupa’ (1878), ‘Pradeepa’ (1885) – remained in publication for only a short duration. Publication of ‘Utkal Sahitya’ in 1897 brought about a new era in Odia literary efforts. Utkal Sahitya launched after much planning by a committed group and presented many new features on its pages. It also went on to being one of the longest running publications in Odia language. More magazines appeared after the turn of the century, Mukur (1906), Satyabadi (1915), Sahakar (1920), Naba Bharat (1934) being the more notable ones, and enriched the Odia literature with writings in newer areas.
Most magazines carried writings on wide ranging subjects. But there also existed magazines that addressed themselves to specific areas/audience like education, children, women, religion and science. Some examples of these are ‘Bigyan Darpan’ (1880, science), ‘Sikshabandhu’ (1885, education), ‘Paricharika’ (1917, women), ‘Panchamruta’ (1920, children). Satire/humor oriented magazines like Dagaro (1937) and Niankhunta (1938) also appeared before 1950 and continued long after.
It is interesting to note that most of the Odia magazines that were in publication during the first half of the twentieth century folded up by 1950. A new generation took their place prominet among which were ‘Jhankar’ (1949), ‘Sansar’ (1951), ‘Samabesa’ (1955), ‘Nabajivan’ (1956), Konarka (1958). Some of these went out of publication after some years and still newer one joined the scene. More information on these and other publications can be found in the reference>bibliography section.
The major problem faced while putting up this digital collection was the difficulty in getting the original copies. Many are lost for ever and many others in the custody of individuals/institutions are impossible to access. Whatever could still be collected are presented in this website. To access these please click on the ‘Magazine Index‘ button on the left.