Vernacular Press 1800-1901
Vernacular Press 1901-2007
The Bengali Press
The Hindi Press
The Marathi Press
The Malyalam Press
The Telegu Press
The Urdu Press
The turning point
It is impossible to ascertain many things about the regional language newspapers in India. For example, is the newspaper Industry young or old? There is no way to say... the history of Indian Newspapers reaches far back into the past, to the time of Moghuls before the Company came to Indian shores, who introduced news carriers to India. However, even today, new ideas and editorial policies continue to show up, ensuring that the industry is very much blooming even after many newspapers have been around for over a hundred and fifty years. Is the industry thriving or on the way out? People are undoubtedly reading smaller and smaller fractions of newspapers, and yet, newspapers are printing and distributing increasing amounts of matter. It is vital to get a sense of why the Indian press is different from those in other countries.
Unique features of the Indian press
# Newspapers compete only with newspapers of the same language, there are many newspapers in many Indian languages, that all started in the pre-independance era. An industry with such a diversity in its beggenings will have a rapid growth. Newspapers in India are overproduced.
# The most important feature of the Indian newspaper industry is, simply put - unity in diversity. Indian regional language newspapers work together, focus on the same issues, and still maintain a sense of unity sixty years after they helped us gain our freedom.
# The Indian press has grown rapidly, but has not grown enough. Many areas remain backward, and in terms of say technology, or professionalism, the Indian Press still has a lot of scope for growth.
# Despite having the most circulated newspapers in the world, according to UNESCO figures, the circulation per head of population in India is among the lowest for any country in the world. Which means there is scope for tremendous growth.
# From the historical point of view, a lot of newspapers have seen the country to changes in the poilitical and economic systems, survived from the beginning to the end of the Independance struggle... this indicates the stability of the press, it is not possible for the Indian press not to grow.
# Most importantly, it is still relatively easy to start a newspaper. New newspapers continue to hit the stands at a steady rate. Most Indian newspapers are owned and run by Individuals. The next largest number by societies and associations.
"In the early portion of its career, the Indian press had been left to follow its own courses and no other check than that which the law of libel imposed. The character of the papers of early days sufficiently shows that the indulgence was abused, and that, while they were useless as vehicles of information of any value, they were filled with indecorous attacks upon private life and ignorant censures of public measures" -James Mill
# Imagine, in the early nineteenth century, the Indian Press was not even two decades old, the newspapers were shoddy and just plain bad, and yet, the exchange of news between Calcutta and Bombay was something that scared the company. The Governor General himself had to step in during the second Maratha war asking newspapers like the India Gazette and the Bengal Harakuru asking them not to publish naval info or ongoings in the government. Soon, however, the government would have to depend upon the newspapers because they brought together the news better than any government agency.
# Adam's Press ordinance, held the press responsible for much the same things as the letter from the Governor General. It basically allowed for "intelligence solely of a commercial nature." The commercialization of news is considered to be a big problem now days, but back then, it was very...