Chaturanga, named after Rabindranath Tagore’s famous novel, was a Bengali literary journal. First published in 1345 B.S. (1938), this tri-monthly publication represented the zenith of Bengali literature for many years. Pramatha Chaudhury was its most famous editor. The journal offered a rich repertoire of writings, both fiction and non-fiction: novellas, short stories, plays and poems, on the one hand; and essays, commentaries, reviews, translations and critical discussions, on the other. The journal is known to have raised the standard for similar Bengali publications. Almost all of its articles and discussions were thoroughly critical and intellectually stimulating.
A galaxy of contemporary authors and poets contributed their writings to Chaturanga. They included Jibanananda Das, Saroj Kumar Raychaudhury, Buddhadeb Basu, Subodh Ghose, Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay, Ahsan Habib, Ramapada Chaudhury, Narayan Gangopadhyay, Manoj Basu, Manik Bandyopadhyay, Amiyabhushan Majumdar, Pratibha Basu, Premendra Mitra, Jyotirindra Nandy, Nirendranath Chakraborty and Satinath Bhaduri. The articles published in the journal covered a gamut of themes of history, society and culture. Humayun Kabir’s ‘Dhanatantra o Sreni Sangram’ (Capitalism and Class Struggle), Sudhir Kumar Chaudhury’s ‘Sampriti Kamir Karmosuchi’ (Agenda for the Seekers of Amity), Nihar Ranjan Ray’s ‘Prachin Banglar Rashtrabinyas’ (State Organization in Ancient Bengal), Minu Masani’s ‘Fasci Birodhita’ (Anti-Fascism), Dilip Kumar Biswas’s ‘Paschatya Oitihashiker Dristite Bharatbarsha’ (India in the Eyes of Western Historians), Binay Ghosh’s ‘Banglar Biddot-samaj’ (Bengal’s Intellectual Society) and Amiya Kumar Dasgupta’s ‘Bharatbarsher Boideshik Arthaniti’ (India’s Foreign Economy) may be mentioned.
Chaturanga had several regular sections on literature, culture and the performing arts. These sections included ‘Adhunik Sahitya’ (Modern Literature), ‘Sangeet’ (Music), ‘Radio’, ‘Natak’ (Theater) and ‘Cinema’. Book reviews (‘Somalochona’) were mostly detailed and critical, contributed by authors such as Nihar Ranjan Ray, Saiyad Walliwullah, Premendra Mitra, Buddhadeb Basu, Ashok Mitra, Kamal Majumdar and Haraprasad Mitra.