The Null Device

Early Bengali scifi

Something I didn't know until today: not only has India had a film industry since the 19th century, but it also had literary science fiction since the 1880s:
Asimov's statement that "true science fiction could not really exist until people understood the rationalism of science and began to use it with respect in their stories" is actually true for the first science fiction written in Bangla. This was Hemlal Dutta's Rahashya ("The Mystery") that was published in two installments in 1882 in the pictorial magazine Bigyan Darpan, brought out by Jogendra Sadhu. The story revolved around the protagonist Nagendra's visit to a friend's house, a mansion completely automated and where technology is deified. Automatic doorbell, burglar alarms, brushes that clean suits mechanically are some of the innovations described in the story, and the tone is of wonder at the rapid automation of human lives.
Sukumar Ray (1887-1923) was probably inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World when he wrote Heshoram Hushiyarer Diary ("The Diary Of Heshoram Hushiar").... It is a spoof on the genre because Sukumar is poking fun at the propensity of the scientist to name things, and that too in long-winded Latin words. He seems to be playing around the fact that names are arbitrarily conferred upon things by humans for their own convenience, and suggests that the name of a thing may somehow be intrinsically connected to its nature. So the first creature that Heshoram meets in the course of his journey through the Bandakush Mountains is a "gomratharium" (gomra in Bangla means someone of irritable temperament).
And Bengali science fiction didn't end there, by any means: The article goes on, mentioning stories about the fictional inventor/adventurer Professor Shanku, quoting from one in which he builds a rocket to go to space and invents a "fish-pill" that his cat Newton can eat whilst in space, and then mentions a few items from a catalogue of Professor Shanku's inventions, such as the "Miracurall", a drug capable of curing any ailment except for the common cold, and an "air-conditioning pill", which keeps the body temperature normal in extremes of climate (which could be a very Indian fictional invention).

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