Title: Charupath Parts I & II or Entertaining Lessons in Science and Literature in Bengali Parts I & II
Author: Ukkhoy Coomar Dutt
Publisher: Not mentioned
Printer: Printed by Hurrinarain Doss at the Probhakur Press, Calcutta
Date & edition: Part I - 1853, Part II - 1854
Price: Not mentioned [8 annas]
About the book: Charupath was conceived as a textbook to impart lessons in empirical science and in moral education. Both the parts combine brief chapters on diverse scientific topics like ‘The Walrus’, ‘Plant Life, ‘The Printing Press’, ‘The Moon’ or ‘The Solar System’ with passages of moral advice like ‘Kindness’, ‘Shame’, ‘Duty towards Parents’ or ‘Motherland’. In the ‘Advertisement’ to the first part the author stated that though some chapters were original compositions authored for the book, most were assembled from different English publications. The ‘Advertisement’ to the second part is particularly suggestive of the purpose of the volumes:
“Many learned Sanskrit-Pundits in this country prefer to peruse only absurd narratives. They are not inclined towards a knowledge of the real world or towards knowing the characteristics of material objects. On their recommendations many schools use [books of] imaginary stories. Such narratives are not in the least beneficial; on the contrary they can be detrimental for pupils. It is extremely fortunate that in spite of this Charupath [Part I] has been accepted in so many schools. It seems that many have come to realize that along with a proficiency in language, it is important to get a knowledge of nature and natural objects”.
In its time, Charupath had been widely popular as a school text. The author Ukkhoy Coomar Dutt (commonly spelt Akshay Kumar Dutt) was a contemporary of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar and shared the latter ’s enthusiasm for initiating a rationalist curriculum in Bengali school books for children. He had been a regular contributor of scientific articles in the Tattwabodhini Patrika and had authored other textbooks like Bhugol [Geography] and Padarthabidya [Elements of Natural Philosophy].
Illustrations: Woodcuts of a walrus, a moth or a flower illustrating the subjects of the lessons as well as a diagram of the solar system on a folded sheet appended to the book make Charupath one of the early illustrated textbooks in Bengali.
Note: A third part of the book was published in 1859.
Pages: Part I -104 + 1, Part II - 104
Genre: Textbook. Science. Moral literature.
Source: The National Library, Kolkata.
Shelfmark: Part I – 182.Mc.853.2, Part II - 182.Md.854.2
1. Title Pgae Part II
Illustration, article on Moth, Part I
References consulted for this entry
Khastagir, Ashis. Bangla Gadye Nitishiksha