A Puthi (Bengali: পুঁথি, Nagari: ꠙꠥꠕꠤ, Perso-Arab: پتہی), is a book or writing of poetic fairy tales and religious stories of rural ancient Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, which were read by a senior "educated" person while others would listen. This was used as a medium for education and constructive entertainment.

Puthis were manuscripts written in the Dobhashi dialact of Bengali. In Bengal, these books were unlike any other book at that time. Writers (Munshis) used to write in Devanagari, Eastern Nagari and Sylheti Nagri. In Greater Chittagong and Arakan, the Perso-Arab script was in use for a short period of time.

The pages of Puthis could be leaves, leather, sheets of wood, or barks. This was common before the invention of paper. Usually, they were written on one side and bound with a piece of string. Some sheets were grey or yellow in colour were known as pandulipis meaning pale yellow writing. This made it resistant to insects as well, allowing it to survive for a long time.[1]

Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad collected more than 2,000 Puthis. More than 1,000 of them were written by Bengali Muslims. No other person or organization has collected this number of Puthis before.

LanguageEdit

Majority of puthis were written in the Bengali script as well as the Sylheti Nagari script. There have also been few puthis written using the Devanagari and Arabic scripts, the latter in Chittagong and Arakan. The language used when writing was Dobhashi Bengali, a variety of Bengali which lacked tatsama and used Arabic and Persian vocabulary.

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