The proliferation of internet and web technology has ushered in a new era in the publication of Bengali literary magazines. Any Bengali who has the slightest inclination towards Bangla literature must have been associated with some kind of “little magazine” related activity in some point of their life, be it writing, editing, publishing or even selling them to their patronizing clients. The thrill of seeing ones own writing in print fascinated them and hence whenever a few like minded folks got together, a visit to the printing press became obligatory. The smell of ink and the clanking of the printing machines was intoxicating to say the least – long hours were spent proof reading those smudgy newsprint and trying to pool in as much money they could by either begging the local business owners to insert an advertisement or by coughing up their own savings to pay the press owner. But the exponentially growing costs of paper and printing has often resulted in an untimely death of the magazine and hence the death of many literary dreams. Many of these talents also whither away just because they do not get the opportunity to be noticed by any of the leading print publications.
But the internet technology has given new hopes to the thousands of these dreamers who want to reach out to world with their literary creations through the world wide web. It has not been easy to publish Bengali content on the web. Several technical obstacles had to be overcome. The web savvy publishers of these e-zines or webzines found several alternatives to get their content published. The newer browser and font technologies have helped too. But still the Bangla web publication is not as easy as publishing in English or any other European language or even Hindi for that matter.
One of the premier Bangla e-zines that comes to my mind is “Parabaas“. Parabaas, first published in 1997 had a dedicated editorial team lead by Sameer Bhattacharya. Over the years, Parabaas has matured into a well read and well respected magazine on the internet. Several established as well as upcoming writers contribute to this magazine. Parabaas also has a section for kids. It has also a section that carries English translations of well known Bengali literary works. Special issues on theater, poetry or famous literary personalities are quite common. The special issue on Buddhadev Bose, Satyajit Ray or the issue on Bengali theater is a real pleasure to read. I would like to encourage everybody to check out Parabaas and enjoy the rich content it offers.
Another ezine of interest is Shatarupa.com. This is another magazine that is on line for quite some time (1999). Edited by Sanhita Mallik and Chaitali Som, the magazine publishes a variety of Bengali literary content.
Abasar.net is another webzine that provides more than fiction and literature. It aims to be something like a wikipedia but does not allow open submissions.
The online magazine Kourab is dedicated to Bangla poetry only. The magazine’s impressive layout with Jamini Roy’s sketches makes it an interesting place to visit.
Some other ezines that are worth trying out are:
- Guruchandali has a unicode version and can be viewed in all browsers and operating systems that support unicode.
- Anirban – a magazine as well as a portal.
uses dynamic font.
There are several other such web magazines dedicated to Bangla literature. But not all them are worth mentioning in this list. Many of these e-zines work only on Internet Explorer on Windows. However, if you find any good site, please let me know. I sincerely wish more and more quality Bengali e-zines come up on the web and the literary talents all around the globe who wish to write in Bengali can have their work published and appreciated by the readers of Bengali literature.