Genesis of KUMAR is unique in the history of journalism. It goes back to 1920's. Based on talks with my father and published material, the following story emerges.
With the death of Ravibhai's mentor Haji Mohamad Allarakhiya in 1921 his leading art and cultural Gujarati magazine 'VISMI SADI'in Mumbai closed down. This was a major loss for the Gujarati readership and emotional shock for Ravibhai who now had settled in Amdavad since 1919.His immediate reaction was to edit and publish HAJI MOHAMAD SMARAK GRANTH as a tribute to the pioneer Gujarati journalist Haji.But to fill up the lacuna of the VISMI SADI his mind was searching for an idea. He was familiar with Editor, Arthur Mee and his wonderfully illustrated BOYS' LIFE. Ravibhai also subscribed other Western magazines like POPULAR SCIENCE and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Somewhere in his mind a germ was taking place for a new popular periodical. The following happenstance brought to end the search for the fulfillment of that gnawing idea.
Even during young carreer years in Mumbai and Amdavad he had kept up cultural contacts with his friend circles at his home town Bhavnagar.One of them was his father's friend Hargovind Pandya's family. For the young members of that family Ravibhai was a friend and guide.
Two cousins Antu and Upen (Future prominent engineers of Gujarat, Anant Pandya and Upendra Bhatt) of the family had started as a hobby a well-written and illustrated magazine -would you believe? named KUMAR in a hand written exercise book. When Ravibhai saw this during his visit to the family he instantly recognized it as his dream come true. He adopted the same name KUMAR for the professionally edited first issue of KUMAR in January 1924 as we have been seeing it for the last 76 years.
Now you know the rest of the story!"
(Those who are interested can see those two hand written issues of KUMAR magazine even today in the library of Gujarat Sahitya Sabha at Amdavad, Gujarat,India)
1987 and after: After sixty three years of uninterrupted journey, Kumar's publication came to halt in 1987 because of economic and leadership problems and remained dormant for three years. However it was revived and given new life under the leadership of Mr.Hiralal Bhagavati, Chairman and the Board of Directors of KUMAR Ltd. Dhirubhai Parikh, then the chairman of Gujarati Department,Gujarat University and noted writer-poet was appointed as the new honorary editor. He also had the able assistant Biharibhai Tank trained earlier under Bachubhai Rawat.
In its new format, keeping the renowned format of old publication in view, Dhirubhai has pushed its readership in India as well as abroad .Its printing quality has gone up and kept pace with modern times. It has maintained the same goal, as in the past, to promote culture and education. with an eye on taste and higher values of life.
Since December 2002 it has been converted into a Public Trust to make it richer in quality with more pages. The new trust has now made it possible to accept donations to reduce the financial squeeze and is actively seeking public support.