Children’s Magazines have played the most important role in promoting curricular and extracurricular reading among Pakistani children. Since 1947, a large number of children’s magazines have been running. There is a large number of magazines which didn’t continue. Magazines which gained popularity initially and those which successfully continued their lives, most of them were supported by publishing, printing or trading institutes. Most of them are still continuing their lives. It is important to mention a few among those as an example here. The publishing cost of Monthly “Nonehal” Karachi is borne by Hamdard Foundation. Monthly “Taleem-o-Tarbiyat” Lahore has a big printing, publishing and trading company, Ferozsons Limited at its back. Monthly “Phool” Lahore is supervised by Nawaiwaqt Publications. One of the most popular magazines of children, Monthly “Ankh Macholi” Karachi was also started by a famous trading company Ahmed Food Industries but the magazine was not in their commercial priorities, therefore it was cancelled.
Above mentioned magazines are some of the many magazines which played a vital role in promoting children’s literature and love of developing creative literature among children. These magazines also took a significant part in enhancing the taste and interest of curricular and extracurricular reading among children. But most of these magazines suffered from uniformity and failed to be compatible with changing interests of children.
These days the lead of taste of reading among kids is in the hands of Monthly Sathee Karachi and this magazine is under the guidance of experts of children’s reading habits. This magazine has been publishing continuously and consistently for Forty years. The most interesting fact is that there is no publishing, printing or trading institute at the back of this magazine. It was started by students and even today its board of editors is in the hands of students.
In August 1977, this magazine was released by the name of “Piyami”. Its editor was Mr. Kaleem Chughtai who was the student of University of Karachi at that time. Not only Mr. Chughtai gained popularity as a famous writer for producing creative literature for children but he also edited many major literature magazines. Many of his academic and research books also came under limelight. Nowadays he is the editor of an international research gazette. When Mr. Kaleem Chughtai took the responsibility of editing “Piyami”, it was only up to sixteen pages and was sold at the price of twenty paisa. In 1978, the number of pages was increased to twenty four pages seeing the popularity of the magazine.
Since Monthly Piyami was released by students and it was sold among the students only, the students in the editorial board probably did not feel the need to get the government declaration in the initial stage. But during that period, under the sponsorship of a department of United Nations, UNESCO, a magazine was released under the name of “Piyami” therefore these students had to change the name of the magazine in May 1978 to Monthly “Sathee” and later got it officially declared.
In the last 40 years Monthly Sathee Karachi gradually achieved many evolutionary stages. Now this magazine has many colourful glossy papers with very attractive and dazzling images and descriptive sketches. It has published 35 special editions from “Exam edition” in 1978 to “Father Edition” in 2016. On the completion of Forty years, “Fortieth edition” will be the 36th Special edition.
One unique activity of Monthly Sathee is that this magazine had also made a society for its readers with the name of “Bazm-e-Sathee” which can be found in nearly all the neighbourhoods of the city. It is a privilege of Monthly “Sathee” to gather hundreds of children with good taste and interest in literature due to its organizational ability.
Under the society of this magazine, different activities are held round the year in which there are competitions to escalate creativity in children as well as different workshops and seminars. There are also some training programs for the writers of the children. In this way, the magazine has obtained the status of an academy.
Taking the advantage of its organizational ability and popularity of gathering a crowd of well-organized children, this magazine also arrange these kind of events in which every year writers of children are met with their own readers. These children not only feel happy to meet with the writers whose poems, stories and articles they have been reading but also feel honoured. While writers feel proud and delighted to know the feedbacks of their writings from the children.
During these meetings awards and Mark of Honour are distributed to new and old writers. Taking the advantage of this opportunity, every year a “Mushaira” is arranged for children where poets of children entertain their readers by their new and old poetry written for children. The Writers Award for this series was first held in 1990. 14 Sathee Writers Awards have been arranged since the last one held in April 2017.
Writings published in Monthly “Sathee” are colorful and diverse. That is why it is equally popular among people of different ages with different tastes. It is just as favoured among young boys as well as young girls because there are plenty of interesting articles added just for them. Interesting articles as well as stories and sketches are also published on housekeeping topics. Effective stories and plays on every educational topic including history and science are included. Articles on scientific experiments and technical information are separately included. Essays on Quran and Hadith, biography of Prophet (peace be upon him), biographies of Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them), events of the elders, Islamic history, general and global history, hunting tales, detective skills, information on animals and facts of historical buildings are some of the many topics covered in this magazine. Between delivering this information, Monthly “Sathee” tries to improve the creative abilities of its readers by introducing healthy competitions and including creativity corner every month. Humorous stories and quality jokes are distinctive features of Monthly “Sathee”. The team of “Sathee” say that they select their jokes very wisely and never publish jokes which are pointed towards teachers, parents, Islamic scholars or any race and which may promote negative trends between children.
In short we can say that Monthly “Sathee” Karachi has played a very important role in developing positive and high-quality reading habits among children of Pakistan in the last Forty years.