As an Editor

As an Editor

Manoj Das was the youngest founder-editor in the history of Odia magazine journalism—not of any school or college magazine or of any institutional publication-but of a magazine that was

a trend-setter, he launched the Diganta meaning the horizon in 190 when he was a student of class X at Baleswar (Balasore). That was a time when there were only three or four Odia literary magazines and only two daily newpapers.What is noteworthy, the very first issue of the magazine carried contributions from some of the most eminent writers of Odisha.Although it stopped publication after some time,he revived it in 1959 at Cuttack, the publication capital of Odisha. It carried quality writings from the veterans while introducing several new talents. He edited it till early 1963 when he came over to Puducherry. The most eminent Odia poet, Sachi Routray, succeeded him as its editor and ran it for about five years.

While in the college, Manoj Das edited the Agamu journal of the All Orissa Students Federation. That was in the fifties of the 20th century.

It was in 1975 that the last serious English literary magazine of India in the 20th century, The Heritage, was launched by the Chandamama group of Chennai, with Manoj Das as the editor and B. Viswanatha Reddi as the Managing Editor. As Manoj Das said, it was launched out of anguish because by then there was no mass-circulation magazine that carried articles on India's cultural varieties as well as creative writing. Circulation wise it proved an encouraging success. While encouraging budding talents, the monthly published veterans such as Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Bhisham Sahani, among others. Ruskin Bond was a regular contributor. It was rich with authentic translations from the Indian languages. Each issue carried a book supplement, sometimes featuring episodes of immense importance such as the first-hand account of Subhas Chandra Bose's escape from India written by his nephew Sisir Kumar Bose who drove the leader to the frontier, ace-film director Phani Mazumdars adventure among the Head-hunters of Borneo while filming their life on behalf of a foreign producer. It also rediscovered and presented classics that had vanished from all book-shelves, like Khwaja Ahmed Abbas’ s And One Did Not Come Back, the story of Dr. Kotnis. Its editorials were highly commended.

About Manoj Das

For thousands of men, women and children of the past two or three generations, Manoj Das has been the very synonym of light and delight, whose writings in Odia and English inspire in his countless readers faith in the purpose of life and also open up concealed horizons of confidence and compassion in humanity a dire need today.