By M A Athul
Sainik Samachar is an in-house magazine of the defense forces. It summarizes news with a military bias. It was first published in 1909 in Urdu from shimla, the summer capital of India. Initially the name was Fauji Akhbar. Sainik Samachar has provided invaluable service to the Indian defense field in the course of last 100 years. Sainik Samachar would be the only armed forces magazine which is being printed in 13 languages. The primary purpose of the magazine is to keep the defense forces updated with the events relating to defense or any other fields which will affect their field of work.
During the First World War the magazine kept Indian army well informed about the developments on all fronts. The magazine was the main source of news for the men of the Indian army fighting in France. The title piece of November 14th issue was printed in gold ink to commemorate the victory over Germany. Later in 1923 printing was shifted from Shimla to Lahore, bringing the cost of printing down.
The glory days of Fauji Akhbar were yet to come. During the Second World War; the circulation reached its peak, to 300000. The printing was shifted to Cairo, to serve better the men fighting in North Africa. The overseas edition was brought out in Roman- Urdu. And at the mean time the staff swelled from 15 to 60. Fauji Akhbar was renamed to “Jawan” on September 1945. It was later rechristened to Sainik Samachar on April 14th 1954, after the Independence.
Sainik Samachar has chronicled the evolution of the Indian army from colonial times to the present day. Its report has chronicled the evolution of Indian Army from the colonial times to the present day. Sainik Samachar has a different taste, giving perspective on various issues. Sainik Samachar also has a huge collection of rare photographs. Many great writers has written in the issues of Sainik Samachar, such as Ruskin Bond, Khuswant Singh among others.
At the present day Sainik Samachar is being published in 13 languages. The English language magazine debuted in 1923. 'News in Pictures' on the second cover became a regular feature. In 1940 the magazine began to be published in English and was renamed Jang-Ki-Khabren.The magazine began to be published in, Hindi, Roman Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil Telugu and Marathi. In 1944 Gorkhali edition started as Gorkha Samachar from Shimla. The Tamil edition started from Shimla in 1945.
During the partition of India the publishing stopped since there was a massive immigration of the staff. In 1948 the printing was shifted to Delhi and restarted the round year publication. The Malayalam edition was started from Delhi in 1964 and the Bengali edition was started in 1971. In 1969, the magazine celebrated its diamond jubilee.
In 1997 Sainik Samachar started being published in color and becomes a biweekly magazine. From this year the price changed to Rs 5 with an annual subscription of Rs 100. During its centenary in 2009, the Defence Minister congratulated the magazine and said it has been doing a yeoman service to the armed services. A coffee table edition “Soldiering on” was published. It has chronicled the reports of the magazine for more than a century. The book includes archival photographs of important events of history such as declaration of Delhi as capital, the First World War, the early stages of formation of all the wings of Armed Forces and its major institutions, the Second World War, the partition and India’s independence. At present Sainik Samachar Editor in chief is Dhirendra Ojha and the magazine is published from Delhi.
The magazine has evolved from a simple Urdu magazine into a multi Lingual magazine. For more than 100 years, it has witnessed and reported the evolution of our defense forces from the colonial era to the modern times, and continues to be the primary magazine of the defense establishment.
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(The writer is a first year PG student of Defence and Strategic Studies with Madras University currently on a 2-months’ internship with Tarmak007. His write-ups need not be news-breaks and in-depth in nature; hence should be seen as an ab initio effort by a budding defence journalist. The views expressed by Athul need not be that of Tarmak007.)