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Dhumketu


Dhumketu a bi-weekly Bangla paper edited by kazi nazrul islam. The paper, which was the voice of contemporary radicals, commenced publication on 26 Shravan 1329 BS/11 August 1922. It started with a four-page format, but shortly afterwards expanded to eight pages.

Cover page of the first issue of the Dhumketu

The birth of the Dhumketu was hailed by prominent writers such as rabindranath tagore and sharat chandra chattopadhyay. Rabindranath's message, commending the birth of the Dhumketu, was used as an epigraph. The Amrita Bazar Patrika also lauded the launching of this periodical. Sharat Chandra contributed a number of articles to the Dhumketu.

In his efforts to rouse the people against colonial rule, kazi nazrul islam contributed several revolutionary poems on swaraj and independence to the paper. His radical writings made the paper extremely popular but unnerved the government, leading to his arrest on 23 January 1923 on charges of sedition. He was jailed for a year. Following his arrest, the 27 January issue was published as Nazrul issue. The publication of the paper was temporarily suspended. It appeared again under the editorship of Biren Sen Gupta and Amaresh Kanji Lal.

But its former revolutionary fervour had waned, and its circulation consequently declined. Publication grew sporadic, and, by March 1923, stopped completely.

Under Nazrul's editorship, several special issues of the Dhumketu were published, including the Muharram issue in 20 pages (no. 7, 1329 BS/August 1922), the Agamani issue in 12 pages (no. 12, 26 September 1922), the Diwali issue in 12 pages (no. 15, 20 October 1922) and the Congress issue (no. 30, 27 December 1922). The Muharram issue included many photographs, including one of kshudiram basu. Nazrul's revolutionary poem, 'Anandamayir Agamane', was published in the Agamani issue. As a result the issue was banned on 8 November. The Diwali issue made scathing attacks on the British Prime Minister's Turkish policy and also criticised the moderate political stance of Rabindranath Tagore. [Ali Nawaz]