First publication page
Title Bichitra
Document Type Journal
Language Bengali
Publisher Name Shrijut Upendranath Ganguli
Publisher Region Calcutta


Bichitra, first published in 1334 B.S. (1927), was one of the most prominent and widely read Bengali literary journals of late colonial Bengal. Ornamented with excellent illustrations and photographs, the journal represented a rare blend of literary fiction and critical essays in its various issues. Some of the best-known writers of the time contributed regularly to the journal. Bichitra published novels, stories, plays and poems along with essays, commentaries, travelogues, musical notations and book reviews. The journal had three regular sections: ‘Bibidha Sangraha’ (Diverse Collections); ‘Sankalan’ (Collection); and ‘Nana Kotha’ (Various Matters). Whereas the first section dealt with international history and geography, the second provided insightful commentaries on personalities, events and trends of contemporary times. ‘Nana Kotha’ used to inform the readers about Indian culture and society with special reference to the literary world of Bengal. There was also a photograph section entitled ‘Bichitra Chitrasala’ (Diverse Picture Gallery), which reproduced photographs from personal and institutional collections.

Bichitra could boast of publishing authors of the stature of Rabindranath Tagore and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Rabindranath’s ‘Jogajog’ (Relationships) and Bibhutibhushan’s ‘Pather Panchali’ (Song of the Road) were first published serially in Bichitra. Other noted writers who contributed to the journal were Abanindranath Tagore, Manik Bandyopadhyay, Annada Sankar Ray, Prabhat Kiran Basu, Maitrayee Debi, Dilip Kumar Ray, Jasimuddin, Dinesh Chandra Sen, Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Buddhadeb Basu, S. Wajed Ali, and Achintya Kumar Sengupta. The essays and commentaries published in the journal had themes such as Bengali language and literature; the library movement; women’s social status and the various systems affecting their condition; women’s education; women’s emancipation; the impact of Islam on Bengali literature; Bengali rural music; and religion and philosophy.

Bichitra was also known for its rare and unique collection of illustrations. The artists who contributed to the journal included Manishi De, Prabhat Mohan Bandyopadhyay, D. Datta, Siddheswar Mitra, Upendranath Ghosh Dastidar, Srijay Chakraborty, Anukona Dasgupta, and Mani Pradhan. The journal included a special photograph gallery, which captured the past and present of cities like Calcutta and Paris, or reproduced pictures of sculptures taken in the Louvre Museum.

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