Mandira, a Bengali monthly journal, was first published in 1345 B.S. (1938). The initiators of the journal were mainly believers in the revolutionary movement in the early 1930s. Loyal to the democratic politics of Indian National Congress, Mandira faced state repression during the Second World War. However, it survived to become prominent as a Bengali periodical after independence. Although the journal encompassed a wide variety of themes, literature and history predominated in the list of published matters of the journal. Literary essays that deserve mention are: Prafulla Hor Ray’s ‘Rabindra Kabyer Mul Sutra’ (Key Dimensions of the Poetry of Rabindranath), Ramdendra Deshmukhya’s ‘Gadyakabita o Rabindranath’ (Prose-poetry and Rabindranath), Sri Narad’s ‘Adhunik Bangla Kabyer Goti’ (Trends in Modern Bengali Poetry), Arun Chandra Guha’s ‘Rabindra Kabyer Darshanik Bhitti’ (The Philosophical Foundations of Rabindranath’s Poetry), and Samir Ghosh’s ‘Amader sahitya’ (Our Literature).
Fiction writers included authors such as Santi Kumar Dasgupta, Adhir Chandra Ray, Sanat Kumar Bandyopadhyay, Arun Chandra Guha, Subrata Chaudhury, Samar Shome, and Nagen Datta. Historical fiction and essays abound in the various issues of the journal. Mention may be made of Atul Chandra Chakraborty’s ‘Jaihind’, Kamala Dasgupta’s essays on the prisons in British India, Kanchan Basu’s ‘Japan Ki Baideshik Adhipatya Sahya Koribe?’ (Will Japan Tolerate Foreign Domination?), Bhupendra Kumar Datta’s ‘Biplobi Gandhi’ (Revolutionary Gandhi), Suresh Chandra Deb’s ‘Duiti Nation – Duiti Rashtra’ (Two Nations – Two States), Arun Chandra Guha’s ‘Banglar Mantri Somosya’ (Problems of the Ministers in Bengal), Samarendranath Basu’s ‘Banglar Atit o Bhobisyat’ (The Past and Present of Bengal), Ranjan Datta’s ‘Desher Abhyantarbhager Sampradayik o Orthonoitik Paristhiti’ (The Communal and Economic Condition in the Country), ‘Swadhin Pakistan Rashtrer Marjada, Sunam o Shakti Briddhir Upay’ (The Means of Raising the Honour, Goodwill and Power of the Independent Nation of Pakistan), and Khirod Chandra Sanyal’s ‘Bharat o Pakistaner Bhobisyat Somporker Potobhumikay Purba Pakistaner Sankhyalaghu Somosya’ (The Minority Problem of East Pakistan in the Context of Future Indo-Pakistan Relations).
The publication of reminiscences by revolutionaries was a unique aspect of the journal. Such reminiscences included Bhupendra Kumar Datta’s ‘Jedin Prothom Dhora Pori’ (When We Were Caught for the First Time) and Jadugopal Mukherjee’s ‘Biplobi Jiboner Smriti’ (Reminiscences of the Revolutionary Life). Poems were regularly published by poets such as Sabitri Prasanna Chattopadhyay, Bibhu Ranjan Guha, Amiya Jiban Mukhopadhyay, Sibdas Chakraborty, Bani Ray, Narayan Bandyopadhyay, Pinaki Ranjan Karmakar, Panchanan Chattopadhyay, Phani Bhushan Basu, Nirupama Devi, and Bhabatosh Chaudhury. Speeches delivered by Congress leaders on various occasions were also reproduced in the journal. Every issue of the journal ended with a section entitled ‘Kaler Jatra’ (Passage of Time), which incorporated events and themes of national and international significance.