Andhra Prabha Weekly Closes..

Chowdary Jampala

It appears that #Andhraprabha vaarapatrika# with its nearly fiftyfive year history is no more. There hasn't been a new issue in almost four weeks. While the demise of this old friend (what wonderful meories do I have of this magazine from my chidlhood days), whose successive editors kept fighting a losing battle for more than a decade, is not officially announced, I hear that APW won't reappear for a while - perhaps never.

It just occured to me that the closure of Andhraprabha weekly means that all the general interest magazines that I used to fondly read during my high school days have now stopped publication.

In my schooldays, andhraprabha and andhrapatrika were the main weeklies. There was another weekly (or was it a fortnightly?) called prajaamata that was published from Bangalore (it used to carry a cartoon serial, #mahaamaaMtrikuDu maaMDrEk^# that was my favorite). yuva, jyOthi and jayaSree were the monthly magazines. The library also used to carry #bharathi#, but that seemed to be too highbrow for me those days. We used to have 'humor' magazines - pakapakalu and jOker. andEv^ used to write a column on pop-music in one of those. both of them died a quick death. There was another popular magazine 'AndhrapradEsh^' published by the government of AP.

Later, andhrajyothi started a weekly (67?) Visalandhra first started a weekly called pratibha that changed its name to pragathi (or was it vice versa?). About 1969, swaati monthly came into being (it is still being published, thanks to the support by its sister publication Swati weekly, which has a circulation over three lakhs of copies per week).

There were magazines from other genres (aparaadhapariSodhana, pattEdaaru, sinimaaramgaM, vijayachitra, SRngaaraM). And then there was the perennially popular chaMdamaama along with baalamitra that was trying to catch up (chaMdamaama resumed publication after a long gap and is now available).

Almost all of the above are gone; the couple that are remaining (swaati monthly and chaMdamaama) are just shells of their former selves. And many more magazines that made their debut and enjoyed success in the interim are also gone.

For a long period, AP Weekly was the lone stand-out. The different editors in the last decade tried hard to revive it, but it apparently couldn't attract new readership and lost some of its older readers with its clumsy attempts to become another swaati clone. With the closure of APW,

The newsstands these days (and there aren't many of them either) appear relatively bare except for many tabloid style film magazines and I don't seem to be able to get enough reading material to sustain a long train ride.