Panchanan Karmakar

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Panchanan Karmakar
Native name
পঞ্চানন কর্মকার
Home townSerampore, Hooghly district, Bengal Presidency, British India

Panchanan Karmakar (died c. 1804) was an Indian Bengali inventor. He hailed from Serampore. He invented the Bangla font.[1] His wooden Bengali alphabet and typeface had been used until Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar proposed a simplified version in 1780.[2] Apart from Bangla, Karmakar developed type in 14 languages, including Arabic, Persian, Marathi, Telugu, Burmese and Chinese.[1] His predecessors first lived in Jirat, then they started living in Tribeni in 1778.

Early life and career[edit]

Book cover of A Grammar of the Bengal Language (1778)

Karmakar was born in Tribeni village in Hooghly district. His ancestors were calligraphers; they inscribed names and decorations on copper plates, weapons, metal pots, etc.[1]

Andrews, a Christian missionary, had a printing press at Hughli. In order to print Nathaniel Brassey Halhed's A Grammar of the Bengal Language, he needed a Bangla type.[1] Under the supervision of English typographer Charles Wilkins, Karmakar[3] created the first Bengali typeface for printing.[4]

In 1779, Karmakar moved to Kolkata to work for Wilkins' new printing press.[1] In 1801, he developed a typeface for British missionary William Carey's Bangla translation of the New Testament.[5] In 1803, Karmakar developed a set of Devnagari script, the first Nagari type to be developed in India.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Islam, Sirajul (2012). "Panchanan Karmakar". In Islam, Sirajul; Hossain, Ayub. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  2. ^ Ghulam Morshed. "Vidyasagar, Pundit Iswar Chandra". Banglapedia. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  3. ^ "Book History - Ezra Greenspan, Jonathan Rose". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  4. ^ "Works [ed. by E.R. Rost]. - Horace Hayman Wilson -". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  5. ^ TNN (February 9, 2012). "Flower power resurrects Carey legacy". The Times of India. Retrieved March 20, 2016.