Mitra, Harish Chandra

Mitra, Harish Chandra (1837-1872) playwright, poet, essayist, journalist. Born in Dhaka in a lower middle-class family. Harish Chandra Mitra's father Abhay Charan Mitra was an inhabitant of Hawra, West Bengal. Harish Chandra Mitra was brought up in poverty. While a teenager he worked as a compositor at a press. His first poem was published in 1858 in the Sangbad Prabhakar. In his youth he was a teacher at a junior school in Dhaka.

In 1860, Harish Chandra published a monthly- Kavita Kushumabali, the first newspaper from Dhaka. In 1862, he edited another monthly Abakashranjika. In 1863, he published weekly Dhaka Durpun, the first weekly published from Dhaka. Among other newspapers he edited were Kabya Prokash (1864), Hindu Hitoishi (1865), and Hindu Ravjika (1868).

Harish Chandra Mitra published and edited monthly Mitra Prokash (1870), which is thought to be one of the best periodicals published from Dhaka in the 19th century.

Mitra's first book was a play Shuvashya Shigrang. Among his other plays are Myao Dharbe Ke (1862), Ghar Thakte Babui Bheje (1863), Janaki Natak (1863), Joydhuth Badh Brittanta (1864). His three plays Prahlad Natak, Onuda Jubati and Hatabhagya Shiksak were published in 1872.

Mitra's poetical works include Hashyarash Tarabgini (1862), Bidhoba Babgalalona (1863), Beer Bakyabali (1864), Kichak Badh Kabya (1866), Babgabala (1868), Ramayana (1869), Kavi Rahashya (1870), Kavi Kautuk (1870), Nirbashita Sita (1871), Durbhagini Shyama (1872), Kavitabali (1872), and Charu Kavita (3 vol, 1872).

His verse plays include Agamoni (1870), Natoon Jamai, Hathat Babu and Sal Nai Kukurer Bagha Nam etc. A conservative Hindu, Harish Chandra opposed Brahmoism and obscenity in literature.

Among his works of essays are Kautuk Shatak (1863), Kirtibasher Parichay (1870), and Kavikalap (1866). Kavikalap is a collection of short life-sketches of ancient poets.

Besides, he wrote a number of school-text books including Saralpath (1863), Kavita Kaumoodi (3 vol), Chhatra Sakha, Kushumlata, and Chasitabalir Artha. [Syed Abul Maksud]