Christava Deepika, an official magazine of South Kerala Diocese, steering to enrich the spiritual standard of the believers of the Church of South India. It has played a very significant role in moulding and shaping the spiritual and material life of the people with the help of Christian literature. The magazine is highly credited to have been vigilant in creating perception, exhortation, propagation of gospel values and unveiling of literary creations of spiritual morals of social significance and independent thoughts.
The Period of Beginning
Christava Deepika was started in April 1934 by South Travancore Diocese under the tittle “Christava Maasika”, which later changed into “Christava Deepika”. Since its inception, Rev. J.W. Rasalam and Rev.W. Mathew were served as its editors till 1941. But the actual leadership of editing, composing and publishing was in the hands of the LMS missionaries of the time. It was first printed at London Mission Press in Nagercoil under G.H. Marsden, who was the executive manager of the Press and the principal of Scott Christian College, Nagercoil. Rev. R.H. Eastaff also had served as one of the Managers of the press. The size of the magazine was seemed to be dummy (1/8 size).
Christava Deepika is considered to be the upshot of studious and sacrificial missionary works accomplished by LMS missionaries of Travancore, who had paved the way for the beginning of this magazine. It is aimed at publishing Articles and News with a view to affirm the sprouting believers in their faith in christ and for their spiritual progression. Most of the Articles were translated from English to Malayalam during the budding stage of the magazine.
Inspite of the Articles, Church News, Columns which disseminate theological knowledge and writings on science and health along with certain English Articles were obtained prominent position in the magazine during those days. Some of the issues of the beginning period were blessed with certain significant portions of the speeches of Sadhu Sunder Sing and Dr. T.H. Somervel and the writings of Most. Rev. Arnold Henry Legg, the first Bishop of South Kerala Diocese.
The Period of Early Years
The early period of the Christava Deepika had blessed with several eminent authors under the able leadership of Rev. S. Alfred, who served the magazine for a long period of 22 years as its editor from 1942 to 1964. During this period, the magazine gave special emphasis on Prayer, Devotion, Children’s Column, Health Column, Bible Study, Writings on Science, Poetry, Church News, Obituary, Calender etc...and thus attracted the attention of the large number of readers. Deepika Balasakhyam column was started at this time.
The editing and printing works of the magazine were shfited from Nagercoil to Thiruvanathapuram in the year 1960. The cost of a single copy of the magazine was just 15 ps. and the annual subscription rate was just 1 rupees and 50ps. in the year 1962. The total number subscribers was around 1000. Rev.I.S. David served the magazine as its editor from 1964 to 1969. By 1969 the number of subscribers rose to 1300.
The Period of Steady Growth
A new light was blown to the magazine in the year 1967, when South Kerala Diocese was blessed with a native Bishop Rt. Rev. William Paul Vachalan, who had given instant support for the fast development of the magazine. The year 1969 is notable particularly with the occurrence of two incidents, one was the printing of the Christava Deeepika began at the press of South Kerala Diocese. Second one was the appointment of Prof. J.M. Stuart as the editor of the magazine, who had turned the spark into fire and served in the magazine for a long period of 27 years.
Christmas special Issue of the magazine has been published since 1969 under the inspiration of Prof. J.M. Stuart, Kumarapuram Devadas and L.I. Justin Raj. Eminent writers like Dr. D. Benjamin, A.S. Ben Roy, M.D. Vimal Kumar, Vellanad Dennison, Paraniyam Stephenson, Aruvikkara Wilfred, Panathapuram Mathew Sam, Jacob Samson Muttada, S.D. Chullimanoor etc... become the members of the editorial board from time of time. They had spent tireless energy and ceaselss effots in steering the magazine to the progressive path.
The Bishops of South Kerala Diocese like Most. Rev. I.Yesudasan, Rt. Rev. Dr. Samual Amritham and Most. Rev. Dr. J.W. Gladston extended wholehearted support for the growth of the magazine. The supportive contributions of the former Secretaries of the Diocese like A. Charles, B. Chellan, D. Sathyadas and Dr. Devanesan were remarkable and memorable.
The period of Professional Progression
Christava Deepika has got a new dimension with the ascension of Rt. Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam as the Bishop of the South Kerala Diocese and who has a professional progressive approach to the magazine. Today, the official authorities of the Diocese like Vice Charman Rev.T.Selvarajan, Secretary Shri. D.Lawrence and the Treasurer Rev.D.Jacob always provide valuable support to maintain the progressive quality and standard of the magazine. It is a tedious task for Rev.T. Deva Prasad, the Secretary of the Literature Board and Shri. M.R. Biju, the Circulation Manager of Christava Deepika to make the magazine upside down with large number of qualitative Articles, several columns of various special themes, children’s literature and other writings of public importance.
Today, the Christava Deepika has got a tremendous modulation and metamorphosis in its contents, size and colour by keeping up its professional touch. Now, it is orbiting to the path of perfection and progress so as to quench the spiritual and intellectual thirst of the readers of the entire community of the Church of South India.
Prepared by - Dr. Robinson Jose.K