Shanibarer Chithi, The

Shanibarer Chithi, The a literary weekly magazine, brought out every Saturday and was turned into a monthly later. It was satirical in nature. It attacked the contemporary literary practices through witty writings. It was first published in Shrabon 1331 BS. Its size was double-crown, twenty-four pages and enclosed in an envelope. On the envelope, there was an imprint of the status of a brave man in green ink. Yogananda Das was its first editor, publisher and printer. Price of one copy was one anna, and the annual subscription fee including postal charge was three rupees.

Almost all the writings of the Shanibarer Chithi were published under pseudonyms. Some of the notable writers were: Abanindranath Thakur, Ramananda Chattopadhyaya, suniti kumar chattopadhyaya (1890-1977), Ashoka Chattopadhyaya, Subimol Roy, mohitlal majumdar, sajanikanta das, Yogananda Das, nirad chandra chaudhuri (1897-1999) and others. The magazine was closed after its 27th issue was published in Falgun 1331 BS Again in 1333 BS, three special issues of the magazine were brought out: Jubilee issue in Jaistha month, Biroha issue in Ashar and Vote issue in Kartik. Then it was again closed. After a gap of 10 months, it re-emerged as a monthly in Bhadra 1334 BS. This time also Yogananda Das became its editor, and Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri replaced him after some time. But Chaudhuri had to resign, as he did not get along very well with the new publisher Sajanikanta Das. As a result, the publisher and printer Sajanikanta Das became its editor as well. The magazine was again closed in Kartik 1336 BS. It was revived in Aswin, 1338 BS. This time it was not discontinued as long as Sajanikanta Das was alive.

In the history of Bangla periodicals, the Shanibarer Chithi claims a very special place. Through humour, jokes and sarcastic remarks, it continued attacking the Bangla literature of the 1930s and 1940s. None of the stalwarts and luminaries of Bangla literature like rabindranath tagore (1861-1941), kazi nazrul islam, pramatha chowdhury (1868-1946) and the poets affiliated with the Kallol was exempted from its attacks. When their writings were published in contemporary newspapers or magazines and not satisfactory by the standard of the Shanibarer Chithi, those were satirized through sarcastic cartoons in Shanibarer Chithi. Kazi Nazrul Islam was the most regular casualty of the attacks of the Shanibarer Chithi. In its very first issue, parody of Nazrul Islam's poem 'Bidrohi' was published and almost in each issue of the Shanibarer Chithi, surely there was satirical language regarding any one of his poems.

There were a few sections of the Shanibarer Chithi. In the section of Sangbad Sahitya, there was news on contemporary literature; and in the section of Manimukta, there were sharp, sarcastic remarks on the contemporary literary tradition. Another regular section was Prosanga Kotha where Nirad Chaudhuri used to write about current affairs. Cartoon was printed in every issue of the magazine. Along with parody poems, stories and dramas, there were satirical rhymes, dramas and novels.

Towards the end of 1339 BS, its trajectory of literary writings underwent a change. When Sajanikanta Das was engaged in debates with Rabindranath about the nature of literary production, the former gained some illumination and came to terms with actual literary practices. As a result, the Shanibarer Chithi shifted its focus from sarcastic writings to creative ones. After this re-birth and new life of the magazine, tarashankar bandyopadhyay (1898-1971) and Bonophool (1899-1979) were its regular contributors. [Mamunur Rashid]