History of Delhi Diary
Leela Raushanara Shukla’s laughter was infectious. She lived a full and joyous life helping people and lighting lamps in many lives. She overcame her personal and professional problems with courage and determination.
An early pioneer in Tourism Services, she loved history. Distressed by the half-baked information given to the Tourists by touts, she founded TOURIST ESCORTS in 1950. This was a group of highly educated professionals who volunteered to show tourists places of interest in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra in their spare time.
Stung by the remark of an American woman that there was hardly any cultural activity in Delhi, she founded ‘DELHI DIARY’ in 1959 listing all that went on in the capital. She edited the journal for nearly ten years. It’s a tribute to her genius that Delhi Diary still appears in the format she gave it and carries the contents she devised for it.
In recognition of her contribution to tourism, the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, invited Leela to serve on the Advisory Committee on Tourism. In Colombo she was editor of the women’s page of the Ceylon Daily News, Later in Delhi, she was the music, theatre, and film critic of the Statesman.
Leela’s last assignment before her death was as Principal of the YMCA Institute of Secretarial Training. She expected good teaching from the staff and laid great emphasis on personal grooming on the part of her pupils and taught them correct conduct in the workplace.
Towards the end, at Hauz Khas, she ran a quiet personal project which she called “Project joy’. This required all those who come to visit her to bring with them old toys, children’s clothes, pencils, exercise books, and elementary reading material which she distributed to poor children whom she spotted on the streets during her morning walks. These children often came to the house to see ‘Mataji’ and make their needs known to her.
In 1970, Mohini Bazaz a fiery journalist took over the baton of Delhi Diary and made it the Capital’s only magazine giving comprehensive information about the social and cultural happenings in town, as well as the latest on tourism map of India.
Delhi Diary made a long journey and the magazine itself spoke for itself. In 1978, Delhi Diary’s edition “Tourism India” marked 19 years and coincided with the PATA conference, is one of Delhi Diary’s contributions to the field of Tourism & Culture, with Mohini Bazaz as it’s Editor & Publisher. She worked in Delhi, about Delhi, and for Delhi, a magazine that changed form according to its needs. It became weekly and pocket-sized to pamper the clients of its approachability and reliability. Delhi Diary was very popular with all the hotels, guest houses, coffee shops, museums, art, and cultural centers in and around Delhi.
In 2008, Delhi Diary entered its 50th year, and Mohini Bazaz only 85 years of age, that Goldie Chhabra and Pramilla Chhabra took over Delhi Diary as its Publisher and Editor resp.
RN Chhabra was associated with Delhi Diary as a Printer since inception, now played the role of the publisher too. Delhi Diary became colorful and there was a little more emphasis on Art & Performing Arts. At the age of 62, Delhi Diary has taken on to become 100% digital in order to speak to the millennial generation – GenX of today.
Prerna Chhabra and Varun Dua insisted to build a technology framework around the whole idea of Delhi Diary and its vastly popular followership. They chipped in with their experience around media, messaging and technology. During 2020 pandemic years, it made all the more sense to discontinue physical paper magazines. It was a difficult decision!
Today Delhi Diary continues to savor the taste of its audience in a digital way. Our lives have become easier when we can consume large portions of content in vivid colors and manner so easily. Cheers to the new beginning and trust us, it feels like we have just started.
We hope you like and subscribe to this new format.
Look forward to your patronage!