S S Vasan (Ananda Vikadan)

  • Ananda Vikadan – A name that is immensely associated with its significant contributions to Tamil Nadu’s politics, culture, literature, cinema and various other fields. The founder of this magazine is S S Vasan. He showed the print media industry how a magazine should be run and how a magazine company should be managed.

  • S S Vasan lost his father when he was 4 years old. After completing high school, he came from Thiruthuraipoondi to Chennai, along with his mother. He then finished Intermediate at Pachaiyappa’s College. Due to lack of means to study further, he worked the job of securing advertisements for magazines.

  • Vasan, who was also interested in writing, came across an opportunity to translate an English article to Tamil. The remuneration he received for such translation was equal to his half month’s salary. He identified a career path in the field of writing.

  • His first book ‘Ilvaazhkaiyin Ragasiyangal’ was released in 1927. It was also released in English. He did not stop with just writing the book – he also showed great enthusiasm in advertising the book.

  • After the release of his book, he had arranged for it to be advertised in a magazine. But the advertisement was not printed on the agreed date. This angered Vasan and he went to the magazine office in a furious mood. But after reaching the magazine office, his anger melted away.

  • He came to know that the magazine was about to close down entirely due to lack of funds and revenue. After the magazine editor confessed the sad situation of the magazine, an idea struck S S Vasan – ‘why not I run the magazine?’ He acted on this idea and bought the magazine in 1928, at Rs 25 per letter of the title. That magazine was ‘Ananda Vikadan’.

  • After Vasan took over the magazine, the fortnightly magazine became a weekly magazine. He appointed Kalki as the sub-editor of the magazine. Kalki’s writing brought great value to the magazine.

  • Vasan started writing a series titled ‘Sathileelavathi’. He also organised crossword contests and rewarded the winners. The ‘Sathileelavathi’ series was later made into a film, and this brought great fame to Vasan’s name.

  • The logo of Vikadan, a cartoon image of an old man with a short horn on his head, and a witty illustration on the cover stole the attention of readers. With increase in readership, Vikadan started putting forth its bold comments to the people. Though initially the contents largely favoured the tastes of Brahmins, in due course, it started catering to the tastes of all sects. Vasan’s son S Balasubramanian played a great role in making the magazine more inclusive.

  • Kalki’s story ‘Thyaaga Bhoomi’ gained enormous praises from the people. A person named K Subramaniam showed great interest in portraying this story as a film. The parties agreed to the release of the magazine series along with the movie stills and to the release of the story as a movie in theatres. This was a novel attempt in that era. It is with this vision and intelligence that Vasan pulled the magazine to the number 1 place.

  • Following his success in the printing industry, he went on to leave his impression in the cine field too. His movie ‘Chandralekha’ was the first mega budget movie of Tamil Cinema.

  • Apart from Kalki, Vikadan holds the credit for showcasing many talented writers such as Jayakanthan, Sujatha, Prapanjan, Tamizhmagan, Rajumurugan, etc. Today, Vikadan is 93 years old. It is no easy task for a magazine to still be a favourite of the masses, even after the digital revolution. The foundation for this success was the hard work of S S Vasan. His victory will forever be remembered as the victory of all people of Tamil Nadu.