Aitihasik Chitra

Aitihasik Chitra was the first Bengali journal entirely devoted to history. It was a product of the nationalist urge to write the history of the land by collecting local sources. akshay kumar maitreya (1861-1930) started the journal in January 1899 and rabindranath tagore wrote the 'Introduction'; of its first issue. The poet hailed the journal in an article entitled Aitihasik Chitra and expressed the hope that this attempt to write our own history would go a long way to release Bengali's from mental stagnation.

Akshaykumar published the journal from Rajshahi as a quarterly. Upendrakishore Roy Chowdhury prepared the cover-design. But after publishing four issues Akshaykumar could not continue the journal. Nikhilnath Roy (1865-1932), another historian, took over the editorial responsibility and published it as a monthly for one year (Bhadra 1311 to Xravan 1312 BS, 1904-05). Metcalfe Press, Calcutta, came to its help in this phase. Nikhilnath started the third phase in Baixakh 1314 BS (1907), and continued its publication up to Chaitra 1318 BS (1912), after which the journal ceased to appear.

Even in its short span of life, Aitihasik Chitra did much to inspire the collection and documentation of historical materials. Though some studies in local history are found scattered in journals and books published prior to Aitihasik Chitra, it was the first serious concerted attempt to present such studies systematically to the reading public. Apart from general studies in Indian history, specific topics of archaeological interest were discussed regularly. Materials for writing local history were diligently collected and presented in lucid language in the pages of the journal. Undoubtedly, Aitihasik Chitra set the trend for archaeological and historical studies in the vernacular.

Nikhilnath Roy himself wrote many important articles in it. Other contributors included Akshay Kumar Maitreya, kedarnath majumdar, Yogendranath Gupta, Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar, satish chandra mitra, Anandanath Roy and Aswinikumar Sen.

The National Library, Calcutta (Kolkata), has a full set of Aitihasik Chitra. [Indrajit Chaudhuri]