A Peep Into Yesteryear Newspapers, In-House Magazines And Ad Agencies

Coimbatore was home to a number of periodicals and newspapers. The higher level of literacy and industrialisation created the best atmosphere. It was a leader in this field. Let us celebrate Coimbatore Day by looking back at some of the old publications that added flavour to the city.
Kalaikathir was the scientific and cultural monthly of the era. It was founded by Prof G.R.Damodaran in 1948. He was the editor of this famous magazine for many years. It was priced at 8 Annas. Uzhapialar Ulagam came out of Trichy Road. Manoranjitham from Sukravarpet was a monthly literary magazine. It was edited by K.C.S.Arunachalam. Vasantham was the other popular magazine from Trichy Road. R.Rajan edited Sahodari from the All Souls Lane in Avinashi Road and it was a Tamil cultural monthly. Kooturavu was published from Trichy Road and it was edited by N.Karuppannan. It was published by the Tamilnadu Co operative Federation.
Kaithari was from 19/22, Muthannankulam Street. It was devoted to the handloom industry and was edited by M.K.Samy. The handloom industry was big in the city. It was priced at 3 Annas. Nava India was one of the biggest publications. It was located on the entrance of Peelamedu. The publication had a big printing press and had many people on its rolls. Vakkil Balakrishna Naidu, the author of Danaicken Kottai wrote his magnum opus as a serial in Nava India. Former Member of Parliament and Principal of Coimbatore Institute of Technology Prof P.R.Ramakrishnan was the Founder of the paper. Even today the Nava India bus stop is quite popular. It is a landmark in Coimbatore. It was the only daily from Coimbatore and was published in Tamil. The paper was known for its high circulation and was highly regarded in Western Tamilnadu. The G.D.Naidu book library continues to stock the old copies of Nava India. This paper was priced at 1 Anna. Nava India had come out with a special edition on the occasion of the inauguration of the SIMA (Southern India Mills Association) building on Race Course at a time when R.Venkataswamy Naidu was the Chairman. This write up is a collectors piece.
Nam Seithi priced at 1 Anna was edited by N.Radhakrishnan and published by T.V.Subramaniam. Jyothisha Manjari was edited and published by Deivagnana Bhooshanam K.G.Paniker. It was the only astrological fortnightly published from Coimbatore and it was priced at 4 Annas.
T.C.Ramaswamy was a man of letters who had worked with both Vasantham and Nava India. He was a protégé of Shanmughasundaram. E.Ramakrishnan was the other journalist who put in work with Nava India. He contested the elections on a later day under the leadership of former Central Minister R.Prabhu (son of Prof P.R.Ramakrishnan). E.Ramakrishnan had been to Siruvani covering the event during the launch of a programme. He had also met Pandit Nehru during his days as a journalist. P.N.Sundaraswamy was the Correspondent of the Hindu those days. C.N.Ananthasubba Rao was in Ponnurangam Street (R.S.Puram) and he took care of the work connected with Mail. C.A.Padmanabhan was again in Ponnurangam Street and he was Correspondent of the Express Group over 65 years ago. S.M.Sanjeevi was well known as the Correspondent of Nava India for sometime. Kannapiran was the one who served as the Correspondent of Daily Thanthi in the fifties of the last century. R.Dorairajan had served as the Correspondent of Times of India and he was opposite to Rainbow Theatre on Trichy road.
Press Trust of India was in Ansari Street in Ramnagar. The Southern Forest Rangers College Magazine, Coimbatore is a note worthy mention. It was a Quarterly Journal on Forestry, Shikar and Travel. The Chairman of the Editorial Board was Dr.D.A.Rama Rao more than 60 years ago. The Madras Agricultural Journal had the Principal of Agricultural College as its Ex Officio President. It was an English monthly and it was published by the Agricultural Union formed in the year 1911 in order to promote the knowledge of agricultural science.
Nava India by far had the biggest team. R.Dorairajan served in Ooty, C.S.Raghavan in Pollachi, U.A.Sadasivam in Udumalpet, V.S.Kailasam in Erode, C.N.N.Murthy in Tirupur, K.S.Venkaraman in Dharapuram and G.S.Ramachandran in Gobichettipalayam. V.N.Ramaswami born in 1909 (M.A.B.T) was associated with Nava India from 1948. He was educated in Annamalai and Mysore Universities. V.N.Ramaswami distinguished himself in activities connected with students and organisations.
He was also teaching for some time and entered the world of journalism as an Editor. V.N.Ramaswami was actively interested in political, social and educational problems of the times. He was associated with the Red Cross, the District Adult Education Committee and the District Famine Relief Committee.
Those were times when creativity was in the hands of the advertising consultants and they were Business Promoters (Old Post Road), C.N.Nagarajan (Raja Street), O.S.Ramaswami (Raja Street), Tamilnad Advertising Agency (Raja Street) and B.R.Viswanathan in Othachakara Street. Kovai Kizhar C.M.Ramachandran Chettiar and Nilkan Perumal were amazing chroniclers whose works were published by many. The interviews of Coimbatore and its cinema news came in a number of publications. R.Ramalingam of Popular Hindustan Publications is an unsung hero whose good work has not been recognised.
Lakshmi Mills had developed the in house journal Limex quite well. It had a team and had chronicled the activities of the Lakshmi Mills group. It built enormous goodwill for the house of Lakshmi. Some of the Coimbatorean businesses advertised heavily and it was led by P.A.Raju Chettiar & Brother, Asoka Betelnut Company M.K.Krishna Chetty. P.A. Raju Chettiar & Brother used to have a huge advertising bill and the firm had its own Krishna Advertising Agency at the time of second world war. The advertisement of P.A.Raju Chettiar & Brother had been 140,000 Rupees more than 70 years ago. All the advertising agents and marketing correspondents used to throng the jewellery store P.A.Raju Chettiar & Brother. Gopal Camphor was another leading advertiser those days. It emerged as a very big retail brand from Coimbatore long ago.
Rajagopal Iyengar was a grandson of the Hindu family and was the agent for the paper in this region. His son R.Narasimhan continued the role of his father. The family lived in Ramnagar. The circulation of the Hindu increased by leaps and bounds during their period.
And not many are aware of the fact that one Kuppuraj was running a tabloid weekly named ‘City News’ mostly carrying train and bus timings besides cinema guide containing info about movies running in theatres.
He used to be regular at all service clubs like Rotary, Lion’s Jaycees, Round Table meetings all thru’ the week. Perhaps, Kuppuraj was a pioneer in neighbourhood weekly paper in 70s.
Coimbatore had its own flavour of advertising, branding and journalism. It created a lot of good will for the people who created wonderful enterprises which supported the society. A big applause to all of them on Coimbatore Day.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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