Archives at Sanhati: Frontier issues

Archivist: Soumya Guhathakurta, Sanhati

Urgent appeal from editor Mr. Timir Basu to the readers of Frontier

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

Update: March 17, 2008: January 4 1975, January 11 1975, February 22 1975, March 8 1975, October 18 1975, October 25 1975
Update: February 26, 2008: Special Autumn issue 1974, 20 July 1974, 27 July 1974, 3 August 1974, 10 August 1974, 17 August 1974, 7 September 1974
Update: February 12, 2008. New Issues: 3 November 1973, 10 November 1973, 8 December 1973, 19 January 1974, 26 January 1974, 23 March 1974, 13 April 1974, 20 April 1974, 13 July 1974
Update: January 30, 2008. New issues: 7 April 1973, 12 May1973, 19 May1973, 26 May1973, 02 June1973, 23 June 1973, 7 July 1973, 29 Sept 1973, 20 Oct 1973
Update: January 20, 2008. New issues: July 27 1968, February 3 1973, September 1 1973.
Update: January 12, 2008. New issues: July 13 1968, July 20 1968, September 21 1968, December 21 1968, May 17 1969.

Various historic Left journals and magazines, now often defunct, will be featured for download at Sanhati. The archives will be updated weekly. The scanned files are a bit big at this time (2 MB) – we are working on more compressed formats and higher quality. We begin with Frontier.

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 access 1975 Frontier archives


Click here to access 1974 Frontier archives


Click here to access 1973 Frontier archives


Click here to access 1969 Frontier archives


Click here to access 1968 Frontier archives


Frontier editor’s urgent appeal to readers


I am taking this opportunity to communicate and open a discussion with numerous readers and well wishers of Frontier scattered all over India nay all over the world.

Frontier has been published regularly since 1968 and now in its forty second year has reached crossroads where one might pause for a while to contemplate its future. All of you are familiar with Frontier’s past, the circumstances namely Samar Sen’s defiance of the establishment, which led to the birth of this combative periodical and the story of its survival since then. To re-iterate, Frontier has always gasped for breath and finances have never permitted any modicum of comfort to its publisher and editors. We have never had access to corporate or government advertisements and it is also true that they have avoided us as they normally should. The minimal advertisement which has helped us hold our heads above water, from time to time, has been sourced through well wishers working mostly in quasi governmental organizations. This source is slowly drying up by a process of attrition, as more and more of our esteemed associates retire from their place of work. This did cause serious constraints during our efforts to publish this year’s Autumn Number. In fact, we were out of the woods this time due to generous help from two of our overseas subscribers.

Annual subscriptions have been another source of sustenance but this is dwindling too, also by a process of attrition, where subscriptions phased out are not being replenished by a new band of readers who may choose to subscribe. It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach young readers, particularly students in universities and colleges. I invite suggestions on making the periodical more attuned to the dreams and desires of our young democrats and radicals.

Frontier not only faces a crisis of readership but a paucity of writers as well. Perhaps due to it slow visibility on news stands we do not receive too many articles from young writers. Due to paucity of resources, we have not been able to invite very many writers to write on our pages. However, whatever be the adversities, Frontier has not bowed to the forces of the market and has banked on those who share its views and mission.

Under the circumstances, I take this opportunity to appeal to all:

To write for Frontier on topics of your choice.

To associate with Frontier through a life subscription. A life subscription costs Rs 3000/US$ 300. Cheques/Drafts may be drawn in favour of Frontier & may please be sent to its postal address.

Feel free to express your opinion regarding its contents or any other matter you feel necessary.

I take this opportunity also to thank you for your time and look forward to your continued association with Frontier.

With best regards,
(Timir Basu)

61 Mott Lane, Kolkata 700013,
West Bengal, India