History of Journalism In India
What is the first thought that comes to the mind when you think of the word journalism History of journalism in India? For some it might be newspapers, some of you may think it’s related to the news on the TV or for some of you it might be both. But what journalism truly means is the production and distribution of various reports on the recent happenings or events. It simply means collecting, analyzing, creating and presenting information and news. And, like every other existing thing on this planet, journalism has its own history. journalism in India has been full of twists and turns since it’s very inception. So, let’s dig deeper into the history of journalism in India.
Quick question- How many pages do one find in an average newspaper? It may range anywhere from 15 to 40 depending upon the type of newspaper, language, font, and so on. The first newspaper published in our country had only 4 pages. That’s right! Only 4 pages!
History Of Journalism In India
James August Hickey started the first newspaper in India in the year 1780. The paper was called the Bengal Gazette(later called the Hicky’s Gazette). It started out as a weekly political and commercial newspaper and was called a paper that was open to all and influenced by none.
There was political and social corruption was everywhere here among the British ruling the country. Hicky was a printer by profession. He launched the newspaper to target British authorities, individuals and their private affairs. But, his journey in journalism was short lived as he was arrested and jailed in the year 1781 for openly criticizing the policies of the government and the East India Company. The topic of the history of journalism in India began with James Hickey and his newspaper.
After that few more newspapers were published that obeyed the government and abided by all the publishing rules. One of them was the Madras courier that was officially permitted to print government notifications and the other was the Bombay Herald (merged with the Bombay Courier later).
The birth of a free press had already
commenced with more newspapers coming up along with various papers in regional languages spreading awareness about various matters. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social reformer also came up with his Persian newspaper Mirat- ul- Akhbar. His main emphasis was the social upliftment of people. He stopped publishing his periodical as a protest to the government’s regulations. Later, he launched a magazine in English by the name of the Brahmanical Magazine. It aimed at counteracting the propaganda of Christian Missionaries.
The rise of prominent Newspapers
The years after led to the inception of many new papers and magazines. Chandrika Samachar and Bombay Samachar started in Bengal and Bombay respectively in 1882. Bombay Samachar had a commercial touch added to it. Along with giving importance to social reforms it also published advertisements and announcements.
Udant Martand, published in the year 1826 from Bengal, became India’s first Hindi newspaper. The paper used to reach the other states of the Country via post. This later became one of the major reasons for its early departure from the market. A paper called Jami Jahan Numa replaced it in the market later. Later, newspapers started coming out in diverse regional languages like Urdu, Persian, Marathi, and Bengali.
A lot happened in journalism after 1857 that played a crucial role in the history of journalism in India. The mutiny of 1857 revealed the divide between British and Indian owned newspapers. Gagging Act in the same year as a result of this outrage. It limited the liberty the press enjoyed by imposing several restrictions.
The issues of sati, widow remarriage, crimes and opposition to teaching English at schools and colleges were some of the main topics of discussion before and after the mutiny.
Addition of different newspapers in the early years made journalism what it is today. These were papers like The Times of India, The Pioneer, Amrita Bazaar Palika, and the Madras mail. A merger of three newspapers that were, Bombay Standard, Bombay Times, and the Telegraph gave birth to the Times of India.
Lokmanya Tilak found Kesari in 1881. Along with Amrita Bazaar Palika, it opposed government attempts to suppress the nationalist agendas.
The following years saw greater professionalism in the field of journalism in India as the press started writing more about popular political opinions and agendas. The Press in India also turned up as a source of employment to both who educated and not so well educated at that time. Many took up job roles like reporters, editors, and press owners.
It’s been more than 2000 years now, the Indian press has evolved to a great extent. What started as a single newspaper has now turned into more than a 100,000* publications holding the second-largest market for newspapers in the world selling over 100 million copies per day. The History of Journalism in India has come a very long way from one newspaper to 1,05,443 newspapers/periodicals (Registrar of Newspapers India) and has a long way to go. Read more posts…