Digdarshan was the first periodical of Bengal in Bangla language. It was a monthly, published by the Srirampur Baptist Mission and edited by John Clark marshman, son of the renowned missionary joshua marshman. The first issue of Digdarshan came out in April 1818. The title page clearly stated the nature of the periodical: Yubaloker Karan Sangrhita Nana Upadesh (variety of information collected for the youth).
The calcutta school-book society felt that Digdarshan could be used as a text in schools, so it bought many of its copies and asked the editor to publish an English edition. The daily Friend of India proposed in December 1818 the separate publication of an English translation of each number and a few copies in both English and Bangla. The publishers eventually accepted both the proposals. In all 26 numbers of the Bangla edition were published and 16 numbers each of the English and bi-lingual editions. The title page of the English edition stated 'Magazine for Indian Youth'.
Digdarshan may rightly be called a periodical for the youth. It contained articles on geography, agriculture, zoology, physics, history, geographical discoveries like that of Columbus, and stories relating to India and Bengal. It was not illustrated. Though Bangla prose was then in its infancy, Digdarshan used remarkably simple language. Its February 1821 issue contained a ten-page dictionary in which the words used in different articles were explained. It certainly set a standard for the future periodicals published in Bengal.
Copies of Digdarshan can be seen in Vangiya Sahitya Parishad Library, Kolkata. [Indrajit Chaudhuri]