My Fav Childhood Mags: Parag and Nandan

We would get magazines in our house aplenty. Some my father would buy, some he would borrow from his college library. But when I was a kid, there were two magazines I looked forward to. Parag and Nandan. Lotpot happened when I was a little older, Chandamama (of “Vaitaaal and Vikram” fame) was too kiddish and Bal Bharati from the government publication house was too propaganda-ish.

There were some interesting “adult” publications as well. There was this “Dharmyug” which I would read only for its comic strip “Cartoon Kona Dhabbooji” by Abid Surti. Or for its occasional Cricket special, aka “Kriket Vishank”. In those times in the publishing world there was no formula more magical than having a cricket special. Ask Khushwant Singh, the then editor of the venerable “The Illustrated Weekly of India” from the same stable as Paraag and Dharmyug, and Dharmyug, the Bennet Coleman Group. Add to this another magazine from its stable, Dinman, off which I learnt the Urdu language. I have written about this earlier on my blog.

Nandan was more oriented towards “raja-and rani stories”, while Parag was a “modern-day” one. Nandan had stories about Raja Krishnadeva Raya’s courtier, Tenali Raman, while Parag had stories rooted in the then current times. Like the stories about Dadaji and Nanaji by Avatar Singh and the very poignant stories by Vidwan K. Narayanan. Avtar Singh was a sardar as his occasional pics in the mag confirmed while Vidwan K. Narayanan was a Tamilian as was evident from the address appended at the end of the story….“Gandhari Amma Koil Road..” A dead giveaway! It is a pity that both these writers died when they were young.

Parag had this cartoon strip called called “Chhotu-Lambu”, which was more often than not very hilarious!

There was a time in my pre-teens when Parag declared itself a magazine for the teens. And they began publishing articles which probed the lives of the teenagers. For example, a monthly story on the teenagers of the small town India. The series was called “Nagar mein ghoomta aainaa.” Or even stupid teenagerish stories. It was a task then to wrest the magazine away from the hands of my elder brother or sister who were both teenagers and hence had the power to shoo me off saying, “This mag. is not for kids, you go and read Nandan, Chandamama etc.”

I remember the mags would cost no more than sixty paise. Till the Indo-Pak war happened and a two paise “refugee relief” cess happened on all consumer products, including those consumed by kids, We now needed to pay sixty-two paise for our mags.

Over time- and I do not quite remember when- I grew out of my favourite magazines and dived straight into “adult” stuff like Mayapuri, Satyakatha, Manohar Kahaniyan. I thought I had had grown into an adult.

And now, when I think back, I wish I had the Parags and Nanadans close to me my bedside reading supply!

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51 Responses to My Fav Childhood Mags: Parag and Nandan

  1. squarecutatul says:

    Parag was meant for teenagers till 1973. It was in 1973 when Kanhaiyalal Nandan took over as Parag’s editor and converted it into a children’s magazine.

    In my case, I used to regularly buy all the children’s magazines in Hindi that were available, viz Chandamama, Nandan, Parag, Champak, Lotpot, Bal Bharati, Indrajal Comics–you name it and I would buy it.

    Lotpot which began in 1968 was initially a monthly,and then it became fortnightly. Then it became weekly and then its standard took a nose dive. “Madhumuskaan” came up in early 1970s.

    Indrajaal comics and Parag were from Bennet Coleman and Co stable. Nandan was a Hindustan Times publication. Bal Bharti was a DAVP (Govt of India) publication. Chandanama was from a South Indian media house which was also into movie making.

    One publication, which was a strict no-no into “respectable” households was ‘Deewaana” which was modelled on “Mad Magazine” and where “Paul Neuman” character was know as “Chilli”.

    I recall that the price of Chandamama was 90 paise till 1970 which was then made 92 paise, where 2 paise was additional charge (called Sharnaarthi shulk. Other magazines too charged 2 paise extra as refugee tax.

    “Paraag” had one author called K P Saxena writing a humourous story in serialised form. It was called “Khaleefa Tarboozi ke kaarnaame”. I would wait for the new editions to find out what happened in the next episide.

    Chandanama had stories of Ramayana and Mahabharat running in serialised form for several years. “Vetaal kathaa” was another story running in serialised form in Chandamama.

    Champak introduced desi cratoon characters “Cheekoo” the rabbit and “Meekoo” the mouse in 1960s. They could well be the first desi cartoon characters in India. “Chacha Chaudhary” character of cartoonist Pran first appeared in “Lotpot” (or was it Paraag?). Paraag had cartoon character “Billoo”, another cartoon by Pran.

    Motu Patlu, Doctor Jhatka and Master Ghaseetaaram were the first four cartoon characters introduced by “Lotpot” followed by Chela Ram and Dhela Ram.

    There are so many memories and so little time and space, so I better stop here.

    • santoshojha says:

      Thank you very much Atul for this treasure trove of information!
      Parag turned into a teen mag only for a short period, if I remember correctly.
      Chacha Choudhary was a Lotpot property from the beginning, I do not remember it ever appearing in Paraag.
      I also forgot to mention the pen-friends column which was so popular in mags those days.

    • Rajiva Kumar says:

      FOR ALL THE ‘ JIGYASUS’ : I have uploaded a few Parag, nandan ,Inderjaal comics ‘ Motu Patlu etc . Pl . go to http://www.childhoodmemories.co.cc , and give feedback. The site is still under construction.

      rajiva1956@gmail.com

      • santoshojha says:

        Bahut khoob! I read one issue of Parag already! Thanks a lot.

      • Dabbu Nath says:

        Great !!!!!
        I’m reading my favorite book because of your very noble work Rajiva Kumar Ji……..

      • AKSHAY says:

        Can’t open the link…

      • Dr Chandra Kanta Verma says:

        Dear Rajiva Kumar Ji
        i was also the regular reader of PARAG. Now I want the help from you as you are doing a very good work, in 1968. When shri Anand Prakash Jain was the editor of Parag. you would have gone through one Science Fiction Story “Neeli Angoothi or Pari Rani”, Which was published in Parag in 4 parts March April. May and June 1968, That was written by my brother in the name of chandra prakash Indu, That time , he was 22yrs old but unfortunatly , he is no more in this world now,, I am his sister, I have the 3 original parts of that story(March, April and May 1968) but unfortunately , last part of that story, which was published in June 1968, is misplaced.
        Now it is my request to you , will you please provide me that part of story as these all things are the sweet memories of my only brother, He was also the regular winner of Rung Bharo Pratiyogita.
        Looking for positive reply with thanks
        Dr Chandra Kanta Verma

      • santoshojha says:

        I sincerely hope and wish that Dr Chandra Kanta Ji gets the missing part of the story.

    • Rajiva Kumar says:

      Pl. go to http://www.kissekahani.in and let me have comments.

    • Rajiva says:

      try http://www.kissekahani.com . I am still trying developing it. have put one issue for readers. Anybody to help me with writing in HINDI in WordPress ?

    • kisse says:

      Pl. do find “HEERE MOTI” at kissekahani.com

    • Desh says:

      as i remember, Papita Ram was also one of the prominent character in motu patlu..
      Desh

  2. sumit kumar says:

    can you upload pdf format of the above magazines

  3. Rajiva Kumar says:

    Kanahiyalal Nandan destroyed ‘Parag’. He simply tried to change it to ‘Nandan’ . I have a number of Parag, Nandan, Indrajal Comics, Donald Duck ( Hindi ) etc. etc. Can some body tell me where can I post them on Web ? By the way has anybody a copy of ‘ Agent 001/2’ (Or something like that) by Chander ? This novel was bublished in Parag . ‘ Buddhu mal ke Karname’ is another story I would like to read even today that is even after 40 years.

  4. latika says:

    Dear Rajiva….we wait in anticipation:)……i want to share these magz and their stories with my kids ….to give them an idea of what our childhood used to be like…

  5. Manish says:

    Rajiva Kumar Sir,

    You can even make money on this one, by scanning these issues making them into pdfs and sell. As parag is as prescious as a ‘blue rose’ now. Out of all other magazines this is the only one which isn’t available at all on the whole of net. Not even a single page. Plus the TOI group didn’t even bother to archive it in any digital form, unlike Chandamama which has all its issues since 1940 till now for reading online.

    Of course if you just want to share these for free with other fans like us, there will be nothing like it.

    I had most of the issues from 1978 to 83′, but when I left home for Europe and came back after 5 years, couldn’t find a single one and no-one at home had any idea where they’re gone. It’s such a wound in my heart, why didn’t I take more care before leaving?

  6. Dabbu Nath says:

    It’s a very nice page indeed. I was searching for old edition of PARAG and fortunately came here. I had a huge collection of PARAG, NANDAN, CHAMPAK, MADHU-MUSKAN, TINKLE, LOTPOT etc., but one day after coming home from school, I found that my father sold all my lovely books to KABADI. That was really a bad day for me….KABADI took away all my sweet memories….But here I am getting a ray of light…. Perhaps I can live those beautiful days once again with the help of my lovely friends here……

    • Atul says:

      My experience is something similar. My mother donated lots and lots of my collections to others (they will read them, I was told, but I found these books thrown around in their homes). This was one of the biggest shocks of my life and I have not fully recovered from that shock till that day. It caused an irreparable damage in my psyche.

  7. F A Khan says:

    I was also an reader in my childhood days Prag, Nandan, Champak, Lotpot, Noor in Urdu from Rampur. One of my elder brother’s friend was a hawker. He used to bring all the magazines on his bike. He would give me all those magazines to read. I would read them as quicly as possible. Days were golden at that time…

  8. Manu says:

    Still remember the smell of new Parag. Used to know there is a new mag immediately on entering the house.

  9. rekha gupta says:

    in my childhood i was fan of these magines and now want to send my poems in these magines.so plz give mail address.

    • santoshojha says:

      Parag has been discontinued. I am not sure about Nandan. You may check its publisher’s Hindustan Times group website.

  10. RAJESH SHUKLA says:

    I also had hobby of reading these all books like Nandan,Parag,Chandamama,Balbharti,Indrajal comicsn some pocketbooks based on Rajan Iqbal in my school life.I think at that time not only I so many my classmate had that type hobby.My father subscribed all these for me.I remember the size of parag was changed in dec 1976 n it was dark blue cover n start a series 72 saal ka bachcha.if am I right then tell me.

  11. Parwez says:

    Where to find old edition of Parag? Specially last edition?
    One of my story publish on that. Unfortunately i do not have that edition.
    Story name was “DHAIRYA KI PARIKSHA”. Any one have that , please let me know.

  12. AKSHAY says:

    I’m not able to open the link. Can you please let me know any other link for PDFs.

  13. Kisse kahani says:

    kissekahani.com is the place to find these mags.

  14. Kisse kahani says:

    Does any body have old pocket books from gyan bharti prakashan , lucknow like – ‘HAZI BABA KE KISSE’ . Would like to have these on kissekahani.com

  15. Capt Venkatesh says:

    I have about 15 well preserved old editions of Parag, my all time favorite magazine, 1968 to 1973. Avtar Singh was one guy whose stories i waited for. Other regular writers whom I adored were Sheela Indra, Malti Joshi, Msatram Kapoor, Yadram Rasendra, Hasan Jamal Chheepa and of course Chandar of “Double secret agent 001/2” fame. I would like you all to read them but I have no idea how to upload them.

    • kisse says:

      Can you do a favour ? Scan them and send at kissekahani@gmail.com. I would put them on kissekahani.com.

    • Ravi says:

      Capt Venkatesh, I would love to see the copies that you have. I can also get them scanned so that they can be easily shared with others. Where do you live? I live in NY and I visit India often. Can you please send me your contact details.

    • swatiprakash says:

      Do you have Parag June 1968 issue? My family has been looking for it for quite a few years. Request you to kindly check, will be a huge favor as I am looking for my late father’s writings…

      • santoshojha says:

        This calls for all help from the readers of this blog post. Please help Swatiprakash find the article. I wish I could help!

  16. Rakesh Poddar says:

    @Kisse kahani: I was also a fan of Gyanbharti bal pocket books… unfortunately don’t have any 😦

  17. Pramod Shendye says:

    Today, my age is around 58 years. When I was a school going boy between 1962 to 1969, my whole family used to read ‘Indrajal Comics covering the stories of Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Flash Gordon etc., Parag (the long story of secret agent 001/2 Ram and Shyam’ by Chandar, Ek Dar Panch Nidar – the author is not known to me), Nandan, Chandamama, Satyakatha, Manohar Kahaniyan, Lotpot, Deewana, etc. As I am Maharashtriyan, we also used to read ‘Mulanche Masik’, apart from ‘Vichitra Vishwa’ containing wonderful stories. I remember the long stories like ‘Bhayankar Ghati’ in Chandamama, was entertaining. I also remember that Chandmama covered long poem on ‘Daksha Yagna’ which was on my lips (some of the lines are still on my lips).

  18. Venkatesh says:

    I can never forget PARAG. the best thing that happened to the growing children of India. Anand Prakash Jain did a great job as the editor of the magazine. The year 1973 brought a revolution when Parag was converted to a teen-ager magazine. Again Mr. A P Jain did a wonderful job. I vividly remember many writers even today—I am 58 now. Avtar Singh, Mast Ram kapoor, Malti Joshi, Yadram Rasendra, Sheila Indra, Hasan Jamal Chheepa to name a few. Double secret agent 001/2 and Sher ke Panje were among my favorites. Thank you all of you for taking me down memory lane. I still have a few copies of Parag somewhere. My wife should know where I have kept them.

  19. Desh Deepak says:

    Nice write up. I thought I was readind my own story. I terribly miss parag of 1970 days and stories of Avtar singh Malti joshi, khilono ka dibba, bholu Bhai ki bhoolbhulliyya etc. Very nostalgic.

  20. Ankit Dhiman says:

    Hallo ….Sir we Want subscribes Monthly hindi Parag Magazine ..so give me us the any contect No for this…

  21. Desh says:

    I remember Balak and Baalman were also a good magazine

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