miscellany - For a dose of good humour...

miscellany - For a dose of good humour...

miscellany - For a dose of good humour...

Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul,” wrote Thomas Mann. In the context of Hosagannda or modern Kannada, this seed of laughter was sown for the very first time when a Kannada magazine, dedicated entirely to humour appeared in 1911. The magazine was Vikata Vinodini and was brought out from Bangalore by B Shivappa. This monthly had a good run for more than 50 years.

Following the footsteps of this pioneering effort, many humour enthusiasts brought out their own magazines, during the 1920s and 1930s.  However, all these had very short lives — Vinoda Vahini (a monthly in Mysore), Vinoda Ranjini, Vinoda Prapancha, Vinoda Chandrike (monthlies in Bangalore), Vinoda (weekly in Bangalore), Vinoda Bharatha (weekly in Mangalore).

The real spark of humour was lit in the land when M Sivaram, popularly known as Ra Shi, founded a Kannada humour monthly called Koravanji in March 1942. Another humour enthusiast Prof Na Kasturi joined him in this effort. R K Laxman, who was then a student of Kasturi in the Maharaja College in Mysore, drew cartoons for the new magazine.

Koravanji began to be published during the World War II, and the readers welcomed a bit of respite when it sailed into their homes at the beginning of every month bringing in some much needed laughter.

The first issue came out in March 1942. Koravanji’s popularity spread across Karnataka like wildfire. For 25 years, it entertained its readers with humorous skits, light hearted poems, parodies, gossip, limericks, cartoons etc. However, in 1967, Koravanji closed down because of lack of financial support.

In 1951, another humour magazine appeared on the horizon. Deshahalli G Narayana started a humour magazine called Vinoda. After the demise of Narayana, his son Raghavendra took up the reins. Vinoda has its own set of contributors and naturally its own dedicated readership. In 1983, renowned humourist A R Sethurama Rao, who was a regular contributor to Koravanji, decided to revive it. When he approached Ra Shi for his permission, the latter suggested that the magazine be renamed as Aparanji. A trust has been formed to oversee the running of the magazine as well as to conduct humour programmes called Hasyotsavas.

In 1999, Poornima Ramanna started publishing a humour magazine called Nagemugulu from Tumakuru. After her untimely death, her daughter Rashmi Hebbur has taken over the running of the magazine. They have a blog as well. Right now, there are only these 3 humour magazines, namely Aparanji, Vinoda and Nagemugulu, which are functioning.

Their collective readership may not be much, but by way of creating an awareness of humour in Kannada readers, all  3 have made their mark. It is necessary that the culture of humour which is so essential for the health of the society continues to grow in Kannada.