Saswati was an illustrated monthly Bengali journal that made its first appearance in 1320 B.S. (1913) under the editorship of Nikhilnath Ray. The journal drew inspiration from a professor of science of Baharampur College – Mohinimohan, who passed away a year before its first publication. The journal devoted attention to various subjects including religion, philosophy, society, history, literature, culture and science. The founders of Saswati did not favor any link with politics and wanted to make it truly representative of the indigenous spirit in Bengali literature. The journal published novels, stories, poems, essays, commentaries, biographical accounts, editorial notes, and book reviews.
Authors who contributed to the journal included Nagendranath Som, Kalidas Ray, Surendranarayan Ray, Kaminikanta Neogi, Surendranath Das, Aswini Kumar Sen, Nisikanta Chakraborty, Niranjan Sanyal, and Upendranath Bhattacharya. The journal published translations of some of the greatest compositions of Sanskrit poets, such as Kalidas’s ‘Abhigyanam Shakuntalam’, ‘Vikramorbasi’ and ‘Malabikagnimitram’. It also carried biographical accounts of historical and religious personalities such as Akbar, Alivardi Khan, Jaswant Singha, Madhusudan Tirthaswami, Sri Gauranga, and Mahamahopadhyay Bopdeb Goswami. Religious and philosophical traditions and themes were discussed in commentaries, frequently published serially in the journal. A few such writings were: Rasiklal Bhattacharya’s ‘Dharma-Kotha’ (Discussion of Religion); Gurudas Sanyal’s ‘Sadachar’ (Good Behaviour); and Satkari Adhikari’s ‘Bed’ (The Vedas).
Other articles included Jatindramohan Singha’s ‘Jatiya Jiban Jatiya Mrityu’ (National Life and National Death); Satishchandra Dutta’s ‘Dhamsreni’; Jogendranath Ray’s ‘Prakritik Bigyan o Tahar Kromonnoti’ (Physical Science and its Gradual Development); Binaybhushan Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Shovonar Prachin Itihas’ (The Ancient History of Shovona); Chandra Kumar Sen’s ‘Bange Krishi’ (Agriculture in Bengal); and Gurudas Sanyal’s ‘Samaj-Chinta’ (Social Thought).
The illustrations comprised mostly images of goddesses like Saraswati, Mahakali, Sri Sri Durga, Sri Sri Jagaddhatri, Sri Sri Lakshmi and Sri Sri Annapurna, and portraits of historical and religious personalities such as Akbar Shah, Alivardi Khan, Shajahan, Aurangzeb, Dara, Sibaji, Madhusudan Tirthaswami, Ramakrishna Deb, Swami Vaskarananda, and Trailangaswami.