Prabasi was one of the most popular and widely circulated illustrated monthly Bengali journals in late colonial Bengal. First published from Allahabad in 1901 under the editorship of Ramananda Chattopadhyay, it continued publication for nearly 60 years. After the British Government ordered Ramananda to leave Allahabad for being a Swadeshi activist, he came to settle in Calcutta in 1908 and continued to publish Prabasi from there. After Ramananda, Kedarnath Chattopadhyay became its editor. Its publisher, however, changed from time to time. Some of them, presented chronologically, were: Purna Chandra Das, Abinash Chandra Sarkar, Sajani Kanta Das, Manik Chandra Das, Laxmi Narayan Nath, Ramesh Chandra Roy Chowdhury, and Nibaran Chandra Das.
From the very beginning, the journal showed interest in publishing articles on art and art history. It carried colored imprints in an effort to promote the works of the Bengal School of artists including Abanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose. Rabindranath Tagore’s writings were published in Prabasi from 1906 until his death in 1941. The journal also published articles on history, politics, education, contemporary society and economy, science and technology, and travelogues. In two sections entitled ‘Vividha Prasanga’ (Varied Subjects) and ‘Desh Bidesher Kotha’ (The Country and Beyond), the journal carried discussion of various contemporary events.
Almost all major poets and prose writers of the day contributed to the journal. Some among the prominent authors were: Nagendranath Gupta, Satyendranath Datta, Hemendra Kumar Ray, Jyotirindranath Tagore, Kalidas Nag, Probodh Chandra Sen, Nazrul Islam, Golam Mostafa, Nalinikanta Gupta, Binay Kumar Sarkar, Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay, Mohitlal Majumdar, Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay, Maitrayee Devi, Jogesh Chandra Bagal, Pulin Behari Das, Sibram Chakraborty, and Radharaman Chakraborty. The journal also offered brief reviews of newly published books. It had separate sections for women and children.