Smartly packaged, the recent issue of Masik Basumati has the looks and content which will make a passerby give it a second glance at the news stand and buy it. With a century of tradition energised by a 21st century vim and vigour, this state government publication is far from being an official handout. This issue in keeping with its connection with Sri Ramakrishna starts with a write-up on the troubles and trials Swami Vivekananda had to face before his Chicago address made his name boom across the New World. As the state passes through times which cannot be called smooth, some lessons of not succumbing to problems which appear to be overwhelming can be drawn from this contribution of Swami Chidrupananda. The write-up on Rio Olympics comes as a pleasant surprise.
The Bengali translation of the comic strip Le Secret De Esparadon by Edward P Jacobs is a clear pointer that those running this magazine now have come up with a perfect combination of tradition and modernity. Khajuraho Sundari, a serialised novel by Himadrikishor Dasgupta together with a novelette, Surer Pakhi Ebong by Sujit Dasgupta and a short story Mrinmoyee by Anirudha Raha helps retain the magazine’s literary character. The write-ups on puppets by Namita Mullik and a travelogue on Chota Mangora adds to the variety of the publication. The piece on the author Mamlukul Fatema Khanam and a comic strip on Alaler Gharer Dulal may be as different from each other as chalk and cheese, but certainly adds to the magazine’s literary value. One would have expected an eulogy on Mahasweta Devi given her proximity to the present dispensation. But Anil Acharya’s writeup on the author who is no more is a balanced evaluation of a woman writer who called spade by no other name and was never reluctant to stand up be counted for a cause she believed in.