Organized Panel Session
In this paper I will examine five travelogues written in Bengali and Chinese depicting journeys to China and India written between 1930 to 1960. Bengali travelogues document the rise of the English-educated urban Bengali middle class and their subsequent voyages to Western and Eastern countries for educational and governmental service purpose during the anti-imperialist and post-independence time in India. The Bengali travellers set out to explore and travel across the ocean not only to search for a hitherto unexplored personal and national identity but also to understand India with respect to others and to learn new skills. The travelogues describe an extremely unstable socio-political scenario and offer vivid accounts of topographical details as well as human and governmental enterprises that contribute to the progress of the nation. The study argues that the travelogues document the transformative experience of the narrator and his intention to transfer the same to the entire nation, by acknowledging India and China as nation-states and the potential of its people by examining another civilization having gone through multiple reform struggles and anti-imperialist movements. The ways in which the travelers come to terms with new cultural and linguistic experiences and use these newly acquired perspectives to understand India and China create a new discourse and give the readers a comparative perspective on the idea of the formation of new nation-states like China and India.