Pathshala, a popular illustrated children’s journal in Bengali, was first published in 1344 B.S. (1937). The journal was edited by Narendra Deb and published by Ramkrishna Bhattacharya from the Pathshala Karjalay, Calcutta. Written mostly in simple lucid Bengali, the journal desired to attract young readers by offering an interesting repertoire of themes – literature, history, science, art, economy, education, public health, magic and sports. It published poems, stories, novels and plays along with essays, commentaries, informative notes, news articles, travelogues, satires, biographies, and book reviews. Some of the regular sections were ‘Obak Kando’ (Strange Things), ‘Nana Prasanga’ (Various Matters), ‘Bibidha’ (Diverse), ‘Biswa Barta’ (World News), and ‘Bhraman Kahini’ (Travel Accounts).
Authors who contributed to the journal included Rabindranath Tagore, Sailendra Kumar Ray, Kumudranjan Mallick, Karunanidhan Bandyopadhyay, Uma Debi, Dilip Kumar Ray, Radharani Debi, Kalidas Ray, Asit Kumar Halder, Abul Hossain, Amiya Debi, Akhil Neogi, Hasirasi Debi, Prabhabati Debi Saraswati, Jyotirmoyi Debi, Asamanja Mukhopadhyay, Hemendra Kumar Ray, and Amritalal Bandyopadhyay. Biographies of historical and contemporary personalities such as Kamal Pasha, Tulsidas, Joseph Stalin, and Swami Vivekananda were featured prominently in the journal. Articles included Surendranath Bhattcharya’s ‘Itihaser Dhara’ (The Trends of History); ‘Dakgharer Kotha’ (The Story of Post Office); Gyanendranath Ray’s ‘Pranijagat Samparke Gutikoyek Kotha’ (Some Words about the Animal World); Dilip Kumar Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Hiraker Itibritta’ (The History of Diamonds); Debnarayan Gupta’s ‘Chhatra Jibone Samabay Samiti’ (Cooperative Societies in Student Life); Pratibha Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Paschatyer Kusanskar’ (Superstitions of the West); Taraknath Gangopadhyay’s ‘Bangla Sahitya Parichay’ (About Bengali Literature); Jaminikanta Sen’s ‘Bharater Mussalman Silpakala’ (Muslim Sculpture in India); and Haripada Maiti’s ‘Maner Baichitra’ (The Diversity of the Mind).
The journal carried regular features on discoveries in science, geography or nature. It carried general puzzles and word puzzles regularly. Pathshala also ran competitions among its readers for solving puzzles and offered monetary rewards for the successful competitors. The journal also occasionally organized photography competitions and published the best photograph in its issues apart from giving cash prizes to the winners.