Kolkata Little Magazine Library And Research Center

Kolkata Little Magazine Library And Research Center is a privately owned library of alternative and experimental literary magazines in Kolkata, India. It was founded by Sandip Dutta on 23 June 1978 with a small number of periodicals which grew to one of the finest collection of alternative magazines in India.[1][2] The library is situated at Tamer Lane in College Street in the Boipara neighbourhood of North Kolkata.

Kolkata Little Magazine Library And Research Center
কলিকাতা লিটল ম্যাগাজিন লাইব্রেরি ও গবেষণা কেন্দ্র
Kolkata Little Magazine Library
22°34′37″N 88°21′57″E / 22.57699103112569°N 88.3657098954383°E / 22.57699103112569; 88.3657098954383
LocationKolkata, India

Background edit

Kolkata Little Magazine Library

Kolkata has a prominent place in the history of Little Magazine Movement in India which was largely dominated by Bengali language magazines. This goes back to the foundation of Sabuj Patra in 1914 and Kallol in 1923. The tradition continued with the advent of Post Modernist writing in Bengali Literature. With the arrival of Krittibash, Hungry Generation and periodicals like Kourab many little magazines started to flourish. But there was never a comprehensive preservation attempt made for these immensely valuable cultural items either in the academic or public libraries.

Foundation edit

In 1972, when Dutta (then 21 and a student of Scottish Church College in Kolkata majoring in Bengali[3]) visited the National Library looking for little magazines he found out how they were kept in a condition of utter neglect.[1][4][2] According to Dutta, he was "shown a heap of books tied in bundles, with more dust and worms in them than pages." Such poor maintenance of periodicals led Dutta, already a little magazine enthusiast at that time, to decide to establish a library dedicated solely to the purpose of collecting and preserving little magazines and promoting their cause. From 27 to 30 September 1972, Dutta held an exhibition at his own residence of 750 little magazines in protest.[1][3][2]

In 1976, when Calcutta Book Fair started, Little Magazine participated in it and Dutta was one of the participants. The library was born on 23 June 1978 and was called "Library and Laboratory for Bengali Little Magazines" ("Bangla Samoyikpatra Pathagar O Gobeshona Kendro"[5]). It was established in the ground floor of Dutta's two storey ancestral home at 18M Tamer lane off College Street book market. Even now it consists of only two rooms at there. The library became open for public membership on 8 May 1979. It was officially registered in 1996[6] and then officially renamed "Kolkata Little Magazine Library and Research Center".

Dutta in his residence and Little Magazine Library

Budget edit

From the beginning, the library was founded on the efforts of Dutta who faced financial constraints. So he made a piggy bank and named it "Three Penny Opera" after Bertolt Brecht's famous play of the same name.[4] He also consistently set aside a part of his personal income. Currently, the library has an annual budget of approx. Rs 15,000.

Members edit

As of 2020, the Little Magazine Library has over 150 members, of whom more than 50 are members for life.[1] There are at least 10-12 visitors to the library daily. Members come from all spheres of the society. There are students, professionals, research scholars, authors, journalists who consult the library on a regular basis. Notable personalities who have consulted the library include the poet Joy Goswami and the author Mahasweta Devi.[4] According to the library website, readers come from other parts of India and neighbouring Bangladesh as well.

Collection edit

Dutta's library began functioning with a modest collection of about one thousand and five hundred little magazines. As of 2020, there are almost 80,000 experimental, radical, alternative and avant-garde periodicals and little magazines in the collection.[1] There are also 2,000 books of poetry. Most of the collection is in Bengali but there are books and periodicals in other languages as well, including English and Hindi. Subjects range from literature to broader disciplines of social science and humanities. In all, there are more than 4,000 books in the library. It has a reading room where up to 15 people can study together at a time. The library has many rare periodicals which are out of print or hard to find anywhere else. Prominent little magazines in the library include:[7]

Sabuj Patra (founded by Pramatha Chaudhuri)
Kallol, Langol (whose contributors included Mujaffar Ahmed and Kazi Nazrul Islam)
Kali Kalam
Nabayug, Dhumketu
Nachghar, Bangashree
Purbasha (published from Tripura)
Kobita and Chaturanga (both edited by Buddhadeb Bosu)
Ekshan (edited by Nirmalya Acharya and the actor Soumitra Chatterjee)
Satabdi (edited by Biren Mukherjee)
Bhabishyat (edited by Shubho Tagore)
Kobita Parichay
Krittibash (edited by Sunil Gangopadhyay and Dipak Majumdar)
Anustup (founded and edited by Anil Acharya)
Golpo O Kobita
Kobita Saptahiki (edited by the poet Shakti Chattopadhyay)

There are also some rare Hungry Generation pamphlets and periodicals in the collection which is the only place in world where Hungry Generation bulletins, manifesto, magazines etc have been preserved.

Further effort edit

Little Magazine Library was the main organiser of All India Little Magazine Conference in Kolkata in 1993 and Santali Dogra writers workshop in 2000.[8] It also conducts bibliography of essays published on various little magazines. It organises two awards: one for best little magazine and other for an eminent literary personality called Saraswata Award). Dutta has organized many seminars and exhibitions all over India to spread awareness about little magazines. The research centre itself publishes a little magazines titled Ujjwal Uddhar which reprints old and rare articles of relevance from older little magazines. In 2008, the library received a grant of Rs 500,000 to digitise its collection. Prama, Ekshan, Parichay and Bangadarshan have been preserved digitally.[7] Dutta has written a book and published several articles for various publications on the evolution and history of little magazines. His library is a regular participant in the Kolkata Book Fair, the Little Magazine Mela and other book fairs across the state.

Opening hours edit

Day Times
Tuesday 4.30pm-7.00pm
Wednesday 7.00pm-9.00pm
Thursday 4.30pm-7.00pm
Saturday 2.00pm-7.00pm
Sunday 10.00am-12.00pm (March–September)
Last Sunday of the month Closed

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Mitra, Dola (14 October 2020). "Kolkata Little Magazine Library: one-man effort to preserve rare books & periodicals". 30 Stades. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Rajagopal, Bulbul (23 November 2018). "The big fight for little magazines: A close look at Little Magazine Library at 40". Qris. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b Dey, Anurag (9 August 2011). "Kolkata;s big library of little magazines". India Talkies. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Singh, Shiv Sahay (4 September 2011). "Little valuable treasures". The Indian Express. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Kolkata Little Magazine Library And Research Center:History". Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Kolkata Little Magazine Library: History". Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  7. ^ a b Das, Soumitra (20 July 2008). "Little Things Mean A Lot". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Little Magazine Library: About Us". Retrieved 1 November 2011.

External links edit