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Basana


Basana a literary monthly published in the month of Boishakh of 1315 BS. On its cover was written 'Monthly journal and review'. Its editor was sheikh fazlul karim (1883-1936). It was published from Kakina of Rangpur district. Kakina is now a village in Kaligavj upazilla of Lalmonirhat district. Jibankrishva Das was its publisher. The registration number of the journal was D-62. Its price per copy is not known but its annual subscription was Rs 2.

Basana was a product of Sheikh Fazlul Karim with a view to promoting social welfare. The first issue of the journal elaborated on its ideal. Its prime objective was to generate public opinion on the need for education among the depressed classed including the Muslims.'

The Basana published articles on religion, history, travel, biographies, science, contemporary social issues, anthropology, personal stories, discourses on education, short stories, plays, poems, reviews and translations. Both Muslim and Hindu writers used to contribute to the journal. From this point of view, the non-communal outlook of the journal was significant. Among those who used to write for it regularly were S Reazuddin Ahmed, Ambikacharan Gupta, Munxhi Muhammad Zamir Uddin Sarkar, Munshi Abu Ahmed, Lalitmohan Sen, Hamed Ali, Hemendranath Singha, Munshi Muzaffar Ahmed, Moniruzzaman Islamabadi, Surexhchandra Roy Choudhury, Dinexhchandra Choudhury, Kokilexwar Bhattacharya, Jibendrakumar Dutta, Taslim Uddin Ahmed, Ashraf Uddin, Syed Nurul Hossain, Nawsher Ali Yusuf and Jyotixhchandra Majumdar.

The Basana was perhaps the first Bangali journal run and edited by a Bangali Muslim that advocated the cause of the Bangalis irrespective of religions. In those days it was fashion among many upper class Muslims not to cultivate Bangla. In this respect Basana played a very pioneering role. It wrote a long critique to say that cultivating Bangla and pursue literary activities and seek knowledge in Bangla was the only way for the Muslims to achieve success.

The Basana's role in building amity in the relationship of the Muslims and the Hindus was also very important.

One feature of the Basana was to publish extensive literary review. Its book review section was particularly popular. Every issue of it contained ten to twelve book reviews. The reviews emphasized the unique role of good books in reshaping the society. It is worth mentioning that while reviewing Begum Rokeya's two books ' Motichur and Sultana's Dream ' the journal recognized her unique contributions in literary work and social reform and acknowledged her as the 'brightest gem' of Bangladesh.

Basana was critical of the zamindari system and took a firm stand in favour of the peasantry. Soon after, the 'Press Act' was passed and under it the journal was banned (towards the close of 1316 BS) after it had run regularly for about two years. It may not have created any new trend in Bangla literature, but it left behind valuable material for the history of periodicals and in the path of cultural progress of the Muslim society. [Muhammad Saiful Islam]