Shankararao Kirloskar

(1891 to 1975)

शंकर वासुदेव किर्लोस्कर ऊर्फ शंवाकि

Shankararao Kirloskar is well known as the founder editor of popular ‘Kirloskar’, ‘Stree’ and ‘Manohar’ magazines in Marathi which also gave a direction to the society. In spite of staying aloof from Politics, he supported intellectualism and successfully edited these magazines thereby proving with substantial evidence that the society had a need for such literature.
Shankararao, who was popularly known with the nickname of ShanWaaKi, was born on 6th October 1811. He spent his childhood in Solapur. His father, Dr Vasudeorao Kirloskar was very progressive. He held a strong belief that our religion, traditions and overall social climate should be observed keenly and studied to form our opinions and they should be expressed through talks and writings by every intelligent person. He insisted that his children should look at every aspect of life through a scientific outlook. SVK was brought up in such a climate. It can be firmly said that, later when he played the role of an editor who attacked and opposed prevailing evil traditions, its root was the modernistic upbringing by his father.
SVK was inclined towards drawing. He had also taken lessons from painter Satawalekar for some days. He had also formally attended J J School of Arts in Mumbai. However, when his uncle Laxmanrao Kirloskar started the factory to manufacture iron hulls in Kirloskarwadi near Sangli where he desired that Shankararao should work as a Manager. Laxmanrao firmly believed that he had all the requisite qualities of restraint, prudence, discipline and communication skills which were required for a Manager and therefore Shankararao accepted this responsibility and successfully continued with it till he retired. He played a major role in creating a feeling of fellowship among the employees in the factory and evolving a unique cultural tradition. Later, the magazines, ‘Kirloskar’ and ‘Stree’ which earned a place of pride in the minds of Marathi readers both in India and abroad, were also launched during his stay in Kirloskarwadi.
With an aim to publish various activities and news in and around the factory in Kirloskarwadi, he started ‘Kirloskar Khabar’. This was a house magazine similar to ‘Ford Times’. Ganapatrao Vijapure and N.D. Tamhankar were his associates. ‘Kirloskar’ underwent a gradual change over time. It became a wholesome magazine with the inclusion of writing from authors from outside, a page devoted to women and special features. No topic, be it Politics, Society, new experiments, useful information, was a taboo for ‘Kirloskar’. However, later this magazine created its own unique place by its decision to oppose superstition and to accept logical, rational and intellectual outlook. He did not oppose the old traditions which were good but he did not want to submit to illogical ones just because they were old. It is beyond doubt that this stance taken by ‘Kirloskar’ was strongly supported by the rational thinking of Shankararao. It is for this reason that ‘Kirloskar’ continued to be a formidable force even in later years.
When he realised that women had a world of their own and it needed a platform of expression for its thoughts, he decided to start a separate magazine for women and thus, ‘Stree’ was launched in 1930. This was a revolutionary decision in the context of the era. The fact that the magazine received huge response within a short period after its launch only underlines the need that was felt for such a magazine.
The magazine contained entertainment, ideas about how to be a successful home-maker and beyond that the magazine had taken a stance that the women are not weaklings. It also played an important role of making them aware of their social rights. Many held a belief that the editor of this magazine should rather be a woman than Shankararao. However, he felt that publishing a magazine is a profession and anyone who knew about is capable of it. After the ‘Stree’ era, its editorship was held by women. Women were major contributors of articles in ‘Stree’. This was a transition between pre and post-independence period. One sees the reflection of changing social and academic circumstances of that period. Therefore, one could read animated debates on topics like,’Changing attire of women’, ‘Should widows wear kumkum on the forehead?’ etc. ‘Stree’ had the courage to expose the suffocation and bad plight of women and also some remedies during and even after Shankararao era. During the same period Kirloskar also made a scathing attack on hoax saints and established a ‘Buvabaji Vidhwansak Sangh- Union for destroying hoax sainthood’. It is noteworthy that both the magazines spoke about awakening against the religious sentiments detrimental to human progress and in the process they also suggested many constructive ideas and solutions.
His extensive writing in the magazine has been published in his books namely, ’Atmaprabhav- Impression of soul’, ‘Yashaswi dhandyacha marg- Way to successful profession’, ‘Vyaparache vyakaran-Grammar of business’, ‘Takanchya fekee- Throw of pens’, ‘Yantrikeechee Yatra- Journey of technology.’ His autobiography ‘ShanWaaKi’ is important. One can see Shankararao’s two facets; one as a courageous industrialist and second successful and a conscious editor with social awareness of a progressive magazine. This is a reflection of the fifty years of cultural life of the state between 1920 to 1970.Shankararao Kirloskar, a man with vision, far sightedness and social consciousness passed away at the age of 84 on 1st January 1975.

Shankarrao Kirloskar
(6th October 1811 to 1st January 1975)

Written by -Seema Bhanu
Translated by: Prof. V. A. Upadhye

साहित्यिक दस्तावेज

मराठीतल्या निवडक ज्येष्ठ आणि श्रेष्ठ साहित्यिकांविषयीची माहिती दस्तऐवज स्वरूपात नोंदवून ठेवण्याचा उपक्रम आम्ही यंदा सलग तिसऱ्या वर्षीही राबवत आहोत. हा उपक्रम यापुढेही सुरू राहणार आहे.

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देवनागरी / मराठी
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