History of Indian Press

History of Indian Press accounts for the prestigious growth of Indian newspapers and its significance in Indian history as well. James Augustus Hickey is considered as the “father of Indian press” as he started the first Indian newspaper from Calcutta, the `Bengal Gazette` or the `Calcutta General Advertise` in January 1780. In 1789, the first newspaper from Bombay, the `Bombay Herald` appeared, followed by the `Bombay Courier` next year. This newspaper was later amalgamated with the `Times of India` in 1861. The first newspaper in an Indian language was in Bengali, named as the `Samachar Darpan`.

The first issue of this daily was published from the Serampore Mission Press on May 23, 1818. In the very same year, Ganga Kishore Bhattacharya started publishing another newspaper in Bengali, the Bengal Gazetti. On July 1, 1822 the first Gujarati newspaper was published from Bombay, called the Bombay Samachar, which is still extant. The first Hindi newspaper, the Samachar Sudha Varshan began in 1854. Since then, the prominent Indian languages in which newspapers have grown over the years are Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Telugu, and Bengali.

The status of Indian language papers have taken over the English press according to the latest NRS survey of newspapers. The main reasons include the marketing strategy followed by the regional papers, beginning with Eenadu, a Telugu daily started by Ramoji Rao. The second reason has been the growing literacy rate. Increase in the literacy rate had a direct positive effect on the rise of circulation of the regional papers. The introduction of mother tongue in the primary education stage brought about a great change.

The people who learned their mother tongue at the least could read the regional newspapers fluently and thus became aware of the national and regional scenario. During this developmental period, sale of the regional paper in the respective state rose to a great limit. Indian regional newspapers have several editions for a particular state for complete localisation of news for the reader to connect with the paper. Malayala Manorama has about 10 editions in Kerala itself and six others outside Kerala. Thus regional papers aim at providing localised news for their readers.

Even the advertisers saw the huge potential of the regional paper market, partly due to their own research and more due to the efforts of the regional papers to make the advertisers aware of the huge market. With a long history behind, Indian press has evolved with a supreme power in the contemporary times, where participation of press gives any incident a special value. indian print media is at a massive business in the media world and its newspapers are said to offer majority of national and international news. The history newspaper in India began in 1780, with the publication of the Bengal Gazette from Calcutta.

The advent of the first newspaper in India occurred in the capital city of West Bengal, Calcutta (now Kolkata). James Augustus Hickey is considered the “father of Indian press” as he started the first Indian newspaper from Calcutta, the `Bengal Gazette` or `Calcutta General Advertise` in January, 1780. This first printed newspaper was a weekly publication. In 1789, the first newspaper from Bombay (now Mumbai), the `Bombay Herald` appeared, followed by the `Bombay Courier` in the following year. Later, this newspaper merged with the Times of India in 1861.

These newspapers carried news of the areas under the British rule. The first newspaper published in an Indian language was the Samachar Darpan in Bengali. The first issue of this daily was published from the Serampore Mission Press on May 23, 1818. Samachar Darpan, the first vernacular paper was started during the period of Lord Hastings. In the same year, Ganga Kishore Bhattacharya started publishing another newspaper in Bengali, the `Bengal Gazetti`. On July 1, 1822 the first Gujarati newspaper, the Bombay Samachar, was published from Bombay, which is still in existence.

The first Hindi newspaper, the Samachar Sudha Varshan started its circulation in 1854. Since then, the prominent Indian languages in which newspapers had been published over the years are Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Urdu and Bengali. The Indian language newspapers eventually took over the English newspapers according to the NRS survey of newspapers. The main reason was the marketing strategy that was followed by the regional papers, commencing with Eenadu – a Telugu daily started by Ramoji Rao. The second reason was the growing literacy rate.

Increase in the literacy rate had direct positive effect on the rise of circulation of the regional papers. The people were first educated in their mother tongue according to their state in which they live for and eventually, the first thing a literate person would try to do is read the vernacular papers and gain knowledge about his own locality. Moreover, localisation of news has also contributed to the growth of regional newspapers in India. Indian regional papers have several editions for a particular state to offer a complete scenario of local news for the reader to connect with the paper.

Malayala Manorama features about 10 editions in Kerala itself and six others outside Kerala. Thus regional papers in India aim at providing localised news for their readers. Eventually, the advertisers also realised the huge potential of the regional paper market, partly due to their own research and more owing to the efforts of the regional papers to make the advertisers aware of the huge market. These advertisers paid revenues to the newspaper house and in return publicised their products throughout the locality. Thus, newspapers in India not only acted as news providers but also promoters of certain market products.

Some of the prominent newspapers in India in the recent times are The Times of India, The Statesman, The Telegraph, The Economic Times, Indian Express and so on. The Economic Times is one of the India`s leading business newspapers; carrying news about the Economy, Companies, Infrastructure, Trends in the Economy, Finance, Stocks, Forex and Commodities, news from around the world and from the world of politics besides editorial and various other features. The Malayala Manorama releases daily, weekly, monthly and annual publications from Kerala.

Started in 1988 in Tamil and Telegu languages, it is now published in other regional languages like Hindi, Bengali, as well as in English. Among the various publications, the Malayala Manorama Daily has the largest circulation, selling about 11 lakhs 50 thousand copies daily. The Times of India was founded in 1838 as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce by Bennett, Coleman and Company, a colonial enterprise now owned by an Indian conglomerate. The Times Group publishes The Economic Times (launched in 1961), Navbharat Times (Hindi language), and the Maharashtra Times (Marathi language).

The newspapers collected their news from the news agencies. India has four news agencies namely, the Press Trust of India (PTI), United News of India (UNI), Samachar Bharti and Hindustan Smachar. Newspapers and magazines in India are independent and usually privately owned. About 5,000 newspapers, 150 of them major publications, are published daily in nearly 100 languages. Over 40,000 periodicals are also published in India. The periodicals specialize in various subjects but the majority of them deal with subjects of general interest.

During the 1950s, 214 daily newspapers were published in the country. Out of these, 44 were English language dailies while the rest were published in various regional languages. This number rose to 2,856 dailies in 1990 with 209 English dailies. The total number of newspapers published in the country reached 35,595 newspapers by 1993 (3,805 dailies). Newspaper sale in the country increased by 11. 22% in 2007. By 2007, 62 of the world`s best selling newspaper dailies were published in countries like China, Japan, and India.

India consumed 99 million newspaper copies as of 2007, making it the second largest market in the world for newspapers. Newspapers in India have almost created a huge industry in the nation. It publishes the largest number of `paid-for titles` in the world. In 1997, the total number of newspapers and periodicals published in India was around 41705, which include 4720 dailies and 14743 weeklies. However, in the last one decade the news media in India has changed rapidly. All the major news media outlets have an accompanying news website. A new class of newspapers in India is entirely Internet based.

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