First publication page
Title Mahila Mahal
Document Type Journal
Language Bengali


Mahila Mahal was a women’s journal in West Bengal devoted to social welfare. Started in 1354 B.S. (1947), the journal was published as a monthly. It became one of the few Bengali journals that dealt exclusively with women’s issues in West Bengal. Family life of middle-class women retained a central place in the editorial policy of the journal. Mahila Mahal published novels, poems, stories and plays along with travelogues, essays, readers’ columns, editorial notes, book reviews, musical notations, obituaries and various instructional articles. Mahila Mahal had several regular features – ‘Somosyar Ekdik’ (One Side of the Problem); ‘Alapani’ (Letters); ‘Apnara ki Bolen’ (What Do You Say); ‘Pratinidhir Patra’ (Letters from the Correspondent); ‘Bona Selai’ (Knitting and Sewing); ‘Porar Khela’ (Learning Game); ‘Chhayachitra o Natmancho’ (Films and Theater); ‘Notun Boi’ (New Books); and ‘Ganer Asar’ (Music Meet). In the section ‘Notun Lekha’ (New Writings), selected writings of the subscribers were published. The journal published a special issue on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sri Sarada Mani, the revered consort of the saint Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa.

The journal had always made an effort to spread a healthy reading culture among Bengali women. The contributors were also mostly women. Authors included Ila Mitra, Pratibha Debi, Karabi Basu, Sarala Basu Ray, Nilima Debi, Usha Basu, Rama Bandyopadhyay, Gayatri Sen, Renuka Debi, Hemlata Debi, Kanaklata Ghose, and Indumati Bhattacharya. The journal published novels in serial form, which seemed to have been popular with its readers. The articles published in the journal represented a variety of themes: Kamal Debi’s ‘Meyeder Adhunik Shikhshar Dhara’ (The Modern Trends of Women’s Education); Sipra Datta’s ‘Bidrohi Kabi Najrul’ (The Rebel Poet Najrul); Pratima Chattopadhyay’s ‘Chhabi Ankay Sishu’ (Children and Art); Haimanti Sen’s ‘Sri Sri Mayer Charitrik Baisistya’ (The Character of Sri Sri Ma); Saraju Debi’s ‘Mahila Kutir Silpa Shikhhasram’ (Centre for Women’s Training in Cottage Industry); and Kuntala Datta’s ‘Cinema o Bhadra Nari’ (Cinema and Decent Women). Kamala Sen’s ‘Europe o America Jatrir Lipi Lekha’ (Accounts of the Traveler in Europe and America) was a serialized travelogue.

Mahila Mahal provided a series of instructions to Bengali housewives about rituals  variously known as ‘Bratas’ and ‘Sashthis’, which were given to be performed by ideal Hindu women. The journal used to publish reports on the activities of the Sri Sri Saradeswari Asrama, a religious institution.

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