Short essay on the Growth of the Press in the 19th Century

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It is an important medium for the dissemination of information on various problems. It is great help in the campaigns for social reform and to influence activities of the state. The first newspaper in India was the Bengal-Gazette started in 1780.

Rammohan Roy published two papers, Sambad-Kaumudi in Bengali and Miratul Akbar in Persian, which was propagating the case for social reform. Dada Bhai Naoroji edited Rast Goftar and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar started Shome Prakash in 1890.

English weekly, the Indian Social Reformer, was started in Bombay to propagate social reforms. Many English dailies were started; many of these are still popular and are as under: The Times of India started in 1861; The Pioneer in 1865; The Madras Mail in 1865, The Statesman in 1875. These papers usually supported the British government’s policies.

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The other papers were the Amrit Bazar Patrika started in Bengal in 1868 and the Hindu started in Madras in 1878. By the end of the 19th Century, about 500 newspapers and journals in Indian languages and English were started in different parts of country.

The Indian Press also grew and played an important role in rousing the national consciousness of the people. The bi-weekly Kesari and Maratha were started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The British Government passed many Acts from time to time to impose censorship over the Indian Press. In spite of the suppression, the Press played the rote of awakening the people to the need for reform and became one of the instruments in the growth of nationalism.

All these changes were an expression of the national awakening of India and contributed to its further development. Nationalism came to embody the aspiration of the Indian people for independence and a new order based on democracy and social equality.

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