Archives at Sanhati: Frontier issues 1969

Archivist: Soumya Guhathakurta, Sanhati

Current issues of Frontier, from the present and going back to 2006, as well as a partial archive from 1968, are available here.

1969 Issues:

May 17 1969

About Frontier

The Frontier weekly was started with Samar Sen as its editor in 1968, after he was sacked as the editor of Now weekly due to its overtly leftist leanings. In the editor’s own words ‘ After discussing with many we were hopeful that we would be able to collect Rs.60,000/- with ease. However, not more than Rs.9,000/- was forthcoming’. Frontier was enthused by the Naxalbari rumblings but in the 1969 State Assembly elections it supported the United Front of which the CPI(M) was the principal constituent. However, Frontier was soon to play its role in the Naxalite movement. Initially the Naxalites maintained an air of disdain towards Samar Sen and therefore Frontier for its criticism of what it perceived as the excesses of the movement like class anhiliation and hyperbole. When Charu Mazumdar professed that very soon the Red Army would march along the banks of the river Bhagirothi, Frontier’s classic repartee was its editorial ‘If faith could move mountains’. Today it might appear just a linguistic twist but in those charged times one may have had to pay with one’s life for such acts of ‘indiscretion’. It was convenience that brought Naxalites and Frontier closer. There came a time when State repression and the collective violence of the political forces (CPI, CPI(M), Congress) made it difficult to continue publishing Deshobroti and Liberation. Most of the leadership and cadres were in police custody and cracks were developing in the movement. Frontier stepped in at this juncture as a means of communication between the scattered and underground/jailed leadership and the cadre. It played this role from 1970 to 1977. Frontier continues to be published today.

Samar Sen: Born in 1916, Samar Sen took to writing poetry in his youth but gave it up completely in 1946 for reasons known to nobody. In his memoirs ‘Babu Brittanto’ (translated in english as ‘ A Babu’s Tale’ by Asok Mitra) one learns that he was also a first class first in English form the University of Calcutta. In 1937 his first book of poems ‘Koekti Kobita’ was published out of the sale proceeds of the gold medal he received from the University. ‘Koekti Kobita’ was dedicated to Muzaffar Ahmed, one of the founders of Communist Party of India.

Samar Sen, after having worked in a Delhi college, in All India Radio, in The Statesman and The Hindustan Standard of Calcutta, and in foreign language publications in Moscow, landed as the editor of Now weekly in 1964. On being sacked, in 1968 he set out to edit Frontier. Reminiscing about Samar Sen, Ashok Rudra, eminent economist wrote that ‘Dare I say that piercing his steely exterior, I could discover clearly only one facet of his character and that is his sky high level of self respect’. Samar Sen died in 1987.



Click here to read Frontier, 17 May, 1969 [PDF, 1.88 MB]»