school magazine – contributions of Kirloskar’s
school magazine – Kirloskar magazine by Mahadev Shastri Divekar
Two important contributions of Kirloskar’s have not received sufficient attention .
One, they greatly lightened the burden of the Indian farmer and the bull by innovation of the plough.
And they played a major role in promoting liberal values, feminism , rational thinking for decades
with their three prominent journals in Marathi called Kirloskar, Stree and Manohar.
All the magazines were self sustaining because of a wide readership and profiteering was never
a goal of the entrepreneurs. Seems unbelievable considering some evil and greedy men one sees in the media today.
The need to reform Hinduism was stress since 1916 in Kirloskar magazine by
Mahadev Shastri Divekar, scholar trained in Indian philosophy and Hindu scriptures.
He was follow by many others.
A conservative shareholder G.S. Marathe opposed in the early years the bringing out of
Kirloskar magazine and promoting liberal ideas by arguing that it was inconsistent
with the project of manufacturing ploughs.
He was opposed by the board chairman, a liberal, R.B. Kale.
All the Kirloskars were simple, down to earth, highly literate people with love for
new technology and literature and arts.
Shankarrao Kirloskar was himself an artist who illustrated covers for several years and
later were roped in P.G. Sirur of Times of India and Baburao Painter.
H.R. Mahajani , rationalist, wrote an article titled Suicide committed by God.
He and Shankarrao attended the first Progressive Writers conference in Lucknow.
S.G. Sardesai, a stalwart of the Communist party of India, and a relative of Kirloskars,
wrote a series of articles for the magazine beginning from 1936 on the civil war in Spain,
Nazism and reactionary forces in the Congress party.
Fortunately, a history of the three magazines has been left to us with the book
Goshta Pasashtichi written in Marathi by Shanta Kirloskar on the occasion of completing
of 65 years of Kirloskar magazine. It was published in 1990. Luckily, I have a copy.
Kirloskar magazine also supported Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s movement with articles by renowned
history scholar N.R. Phatak and others.
Contributors to the three magazines would make a Who’s Who of prominent figures
from different fields in Maharashtra .
There was also a liberal attitude towards workers with management people joining
workers in picnics and other activities.
Shantanurao Kirloskar, the most famous from the family, was a bit different with his
typical bow and tie, but he too was a staunch rationalist.
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