On this day, 70 years ago, a magazine was born

R.K. Laxman may have made his name after a lifetime at The Times of India, but it was for a small Kannada humour monthly called Koravanji that the Mysore-born cartoonist drew his first works.

The magazine had been inspired by the British satirical magazine Punch. The first issue of Koravanji saw the light of day on Ugadi, 70 years ago, and shut down 25 years later, in 1967.

A CD containing 300 past issues of Koravanji (which refers to fortune-telling tribal women) was released in Mysore last week, and a website has been launched to keep the jokes going.

***

Prof A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former head of the department of ancient history and archaeology of the University of Mysore, recounts the origin of Koravanji in Star of Mysore.

“The editor of Korvanji was Dr R. Shivaram, popularly known as RaShi. He was a medical doctor but his stethoscope could detect humour. It seems that he was a regular reader of  Punch, the internationally known humour magazine.

“The college in which RaShi was studying auctioned all the old magazines including Punch. Shivaram managed to collect Rs 3 to buy them. But the Principal of the college himself purchased the lot at Rs 4.

“The boy was highly disappointed. But the understanding Principal presented all the volumes to Shivaram as a gift. This precious gift from the Principal was a turning point in the career of young Shivaram and years later he started the monthly magazine Koravanji.

“The first issue appeared on Ugadi day of Chitrabanu Samvatsara (1942). Each issue was sold at 4 annas of 25 paise. Newspaper agents purchased the copies but did not pay the Editor/MD. The doctor who had made a good name had no cure for these agents.”

Koravanji‘s editorial menu comprised humourous skits, light hearted poems, parodies, gossip, limericks, cartoons, etc. The absence of obscene lines and double entendre was a stand-out feature, according to the professor.

Links via E.R. Ramachandran

***

Also read: Laxman & Narayan: How one family produced two geniuses

Look, who inspired R.K. Laxman‘s common man!

Making all of us smile can make one of us cry

EXCLUSIVE: The unpublished doodles of R.K. Laxman

Has namma R.K. Laxman drawn his last cartoon?

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8 Responses to “On this day, 70 years ago, a magazine was born”

  1. VTVenkataram Says:

    A Ton of thanks to churumuri for taking me back to my younger days. I was a regular reader of this wonderful magazine !1

  2. Yella Ok Says:

    It is amazing how we lose institutions like these. Sad, but that is bevu and recollecting the same is bella. Happy ugadi to all

  3. the colonel Says:

    this is the point i have been making. enjoyment is for a few.

    the rest don’t get translations.

    Sigh

  4. prashanth Says:

    The link to the website seems to be wrong. “aparanji.in” is non existant.
    Can you please give us the right website.

  5. Sanjeeva Says:

    Thanks Churumuri. My doddappa was a great fan of Koravanji and he used to encourage me to read it and explain the jokes and skits when I was 9-10 years old. I feel it is a pity that in general we the Kannadigas do not have sense of humour, probably due to which Koravanji had to go to forest. Later, Vinoda and Aparanji were being published for some time. These magazines too are not available now.
    By the way, where can I get the CD?

  6. ERR Says:

    The link :aparanjimag.in

    or, double click on the magazine itself on the top to open ‘aparanji’ portal.

  7. H.R.HANUMANTHA RAU Says:

    IT WAS A VERY SAD DAY FOR KANNADA HUMOUR AND HUMORISTS WHEN PEOPLE SHOWED SHEER CONTEMPT IN BUYING THIS HIGHLY CREDIBLE HUMOUR MAGAZINE JUST FOR FOUR-ANNAS(25 PAISE) EVERY MONTH TO MAKE IT LIVE AND DR.SHIVARAM HAD NO OTHER OPTION BUT TO CLOSE IT . ALL THE SAME, PEOPLE WHO STILL CHERISH THAT “KORAVANJI” ARE STILL THERE AND THOUGH MOST OF THE CONTRIBUTORS OF THOSE DAYS LIKE SHIVARAM, KASTURI, GI.PI.RA.,KEFA NO LONGER EXIST, THE MANTLE IS CARRIED ON BY OTHERS LIKE A.RA.SE.,HARA AND SO ON THROUGH ‘APARANJI’. IF P.G. WODEHOUSE IS EVEN TODAY IN DEMAND, WHY CANNOT WE DO IT ABOUT OUR AUTHORS OF THE CALIBRE OF A.RA.SE AND OTHERS?– H.R.HANUMANTHA RAU, VIJAYANAGAR, BANGALORE 5600040 -PH: 8095658334.

  8. T S VASU Says:

    I am a Kannadiga born in Mysore but now settled in Hindupur AP. A regular reader of Koravanji specially KEFA, Rashi, Bachha etc,. I love the humour in these novels. Today I tried many times to get Koravanji old magazines but seems no one has it. I am now happy that CD has come but tell me how to get the CD. My email is sard_chalakur@yahoo.com.

    TiruS Vasu.
    Hindupur

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