First Assamese monthly magazine - Jonaki

In this article, I am going to tell you about first Assamese monthly magazine "Jonaki" which was published from Kolkata (1889-1898) and Guwahati (1901-1903). In this magazine, we got our first Assamese romantic poem, first Assamese sonnet and first Assamese farce literary works as well. "Jonaki" had a lot contributions in the development of modern Assamese literature.

An introduction to "Jonaki" :

After the re-establishment of Assamese language as state language in 1873, some Assamese youngstars, like Chandra Kumar Agarwala, Hemchandra Goswami and et el, started to think about an Assamese journal which will lead the modern Assamese literary works. Thus that group of Kolkata based Assamese students with modern approach formed a society for Assamese language development purposes with the name "Axomiya Bhasa Unnati Sadhini Sabha". Later on this society published Assam's very first monthly magazine "Jonaki", which means "Moonlight", on 9-February-1889. "Jonaki" also was the mouthpiece of this Assamese language development society.

"Jonaki" time of Assamese literature :

From the publication of Jonaki's first edition in the year 1889 till the last edition published in the year 1903 is referred to as Jonaki time of Assamese literature. The modern trend of Assamese literature started during this period.

Publication of "Jonaki" :

During its early days (from untill 1898), this monthly Assamese magazine had published their editions from Kolkata. But later on (from 1901 to 1903), they started publishing from Guwahati. There was a short break of 2 consecutive years, i.e. 1899 and 1900, between Kolkata edition and Guwahati edition. Thus we got our very first Assamese monthly magazine.

Editors and Contributors of "Jonaki" :

During its 14 years of publication journey, we got many skilled editors there time to time. The very first editor of "Jonaki" was Chandrakumar Agarwala, a prominent writer of those period.
Bellow are the list of "Jonaki" editors -
  • Chandra Kumar Agarwala
  • Hemchandra Goswami
  • Satyanath Borah
  • Kanaklal Baruah

"Jonaki" was published from Guwahati for first time by Editor Satyanath Borah. Along with those editors "Jonaki" had some regular writers too, like Laksminath Bezbaruah.

Total numbers of published issues of "Jonaki" :

It is not certain what was the total number of published issues there during their two publishing seasons. Some sources says that there was total 69 numbers of published issues during their first season, i.e. 1889 to 1898. These are including 11 issues in 1889, 12 in 1890, 10 in 1891, 11 in 1892, 7 in 1893, 11 in 1894, 6 in 1895 and 1 in issues in the year 1896.

Evolution of modern Assamese literature during "Jonaki" days :

During "Jonaki" days, many newer concepts of modern literature were practiced with great success. Thus we got our first Assamese Romantic Poem "Bon Kunwori" (Princes of Forest) by great poet Chandrakumar Agarwala, first Assamese sonnet "Priyotomar Chiti" (Letter from sweetheart) by Hemchandra Goswami and first Assamese Farce literary work "Litikai" by Laksminath Bezbaruah in the pages of "Jonaki".
Thus "Jonaki" became the pioneer monthly magazine with modern Assamese literary works.

Conclusion :

Jonaki period was the golden era of modern Assamese literature practice. But unfortunately, because of some unavoidable issues the publication was stopped in the year 1903. But during its short journey, Assamese literature experienced many revolutionary practices. New writers introduced the western style of literature for the first time in Assamese literature in "Jonaki" pages. Thus this revolution has a lot contributions to our present day Assamese literary works.

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