AN INSIGHT INTO THE VERY FIRST BENGALI LANGUAGE TEXT BOOKS: A VISUAL AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL UNDERSTANDING

Journal Title: Social Affairs - Year 2017, Vol 1, Issue 6

Abstract

Bengali children’s literature has experienced considerable evolution in its journey from oral traditions of the past to the modern age of technology. From various fables, riddles and poems found in the rich oral tradition of Bengal, to the latest publications in the format of DVD’s and CD’s, the medium of this body of literature has also transformed the content down the ages. Bengali text books that introduce the alphabet to young readers have also been richly informed by this knowledge corpus. The authors of these text books were amongst the most important social cognoscenti, contributing signifcantly to further the cause of education in contemporary Bengal. However, several of their efforts (mostly print publications) have been often criticized by historians and sociologists in recent times to have been only limited to the Presidency town of Kolkata during colonial times. Nevertheless, more than a hundred years after the printing of the frst textbook in Bengali by Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the modern market including the internet, is flooded with various Bengali text books, which are all based on these initial efforts. It is also important to note that despite, or perhaps due to, the above criticisms, these textbooks have reached out to a much wider audience over the years in rural as well as urban India. Online availability of such works has further expanded this reach. In the process, text books have also acted as repositories of fables, chharas or poems, and stories from the oral traditions of Bengal. Even the new Bengali text books by various authors often tend to borrow themes, characters, poems, and stories from the old ones, rendering an aspect of continuity amidst changing environments. This paper is an attempt to understand the signifcant efforts of literate pundits of Sanskrit and Bengali in West Bengal towards the spread of the Bengali language through these text books, and the use of oral traditions in these efforts. The present paper has been aided by extensive feldwork across one and a half decades in various districts of the state of West Bengal, conducted to understand the reach and use of these textbooks across urban as well as rural spaces.

Authors and Affiliations

Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai

Keywords

Related Articles

WASAGAMA (SURNAME) AND INDIVIDUAL NAME CHANGES AMONG THE SINHALESE OF SRI LANKA: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

There appears a good number of newspaper notices to effect changes in surname (Wasagama) and individual names by the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka. Surname and name indicate the social status of an individual in the broad lin...

WHAT IS A MODERN SOCIAL WORKER COMFORTABLE WITH - UNIVERSALISM OR RELATIVISM? A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE ARTICLE, “POSTMODERNISM, CRITICAL THEORY AND SOCIAL WORK” BY JIM IFE

The author, Prof. Jim Ife, starts this article claiming that, “in the current social, economic and political climate of change and instability, many of the old certainties of social work practice no longer seem relev...

PERADENIYA ACADEMICS OF THE EARLY DAYS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO SINHALA STUDIES

The contribution of the University of Peradeniya to the theatre and literary arts is well known. The ‘Golden Era’ of Peradeniya was characterized by a succession of truly phenomenal works in the felds of fction, poetry...

PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIOLOGICAL, AND POLITICAL DIMENSIONS OF RAGGING IN SRI LANKAN UNIVERSITIES

Ragging is interpreted as a phenomenon that has arisen in the university mainly as a result of the sexual and romantic deprivations of male students who are away from their usual places of residence or birthplaces. Thi...

INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF THE VICE-CHANCELLOR ON 14TH JULY, 1942

The following speech by Sir Ivor Jennings, frst Vice Chancellor of the University of Ceylon, delivered at the inauguration of the University of Peradeniya as the new main campus of the University of Ceylon in July 1942...

Download PDF file
  • EP ID EP31432
  • DOI -
  • Views 187
  • Downloads 1

How To Cite

Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai (2017). AN INSIGHT INTO THE VERY FIRST BENGALI LANGUAGE TEXT BOOKS: A VISUAL AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL UNDERSTANDING. Social Affairs, 1(6), -. https://europub.co.uk/articles/-A-31432