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Lamenting The Lost World Of Target

Sucharita Sengupta

By Various authors
Year 1979

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

For several years now, I have found it far more delightful to go through literature for children and young adults that is being published in our country, that is, in comparison with books targeted at adult audiences, especially those that are written in English. The prime reason is the far superior quality of writing, illustration and production. If books published for children and teenagers can enthral an adult so much, how much more pleasing must they be for the kids. Amid this encouraging and vibrant scenario, there is one aspect that appears to have either gone missing, or has declined in significance or visibility. This is the segment on monthly magazines for children. It was commonplace to find a bunch of such magazines in English, Hindi and other regional languages in magazine stands at bookstores, bus stands and railway stations once upon a time. While comics for children are still visible on the stands, the monthly magazine has vanished. It’s a pity, since they were a relished part of childhood for several generations of young Indians. Sourced either through subscriptions or from the newspaperwala, borrowed from the school library for free or from the local stationary shop for a princely sum of 50 paise per week, or even whacked from a friend in the neighbourhood, they were constant and treasured companions. Allow me to wallow in nostalgia, through this article, for a personal favourite—an English language magazine called Target. Target began publication in 1979, with Rosalind Wilson, an acclaimed educationist who worked at the English Department of Springdales School, New Delhi, as the founding editor. It was published by Living Media India Pvt. Ltd., the same company that published India Today. It is not my case that no other magazines of note for children had ever been published before, or in any other Indian language. However, it appears to have been the most popular magazine among urban, English-speaking kids of a certain generation, especially those who grew up in the 80s and early 90s. I have, till date, not met a single such reader who does not carry in his/her heart, the utter disappointment that followed from the time that the magazine ceased publication in the year 1995. A quick Google search revealed several blog posts and one Reddit thread where the readers were swimming in bittersweet nostalgia. Indeed, Target is worthy of such reminiscences. With an eclectic content, it ...

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