History of Bengali Journalism

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  • Topic: Kolkata, Newspaper, Bengali language
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  • Published : October 9, 2012
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History and development of Bengali journalism

Bengal, especially Calcutta (presently Kolkata) was the cradle of journalism in India. The first newspaper of India Hickey's Bengal Gazette was published in Kolkata in 1780. So were the first four non-English newspapers- in Bengali, Urdu, Hindi and Persian. Several language newspapers owe their birth to Kolkata in some form or the other; for example the Oriya types were manufactured in Serampore, a suburb of Kolkata.

The year 1818 marks the beginning of Bengali journalism. Samachar Darpan was the first newspaper in Bengali language. It was published by Serampore Mission press on May 23, 1818. Started by missionaries Carey and Marshman, it began as a monthly, but soon converted into a weekly. It carried both Indian and foreign news. It became bilingual in 1829 carrying Bengali and English news in parallel columns. After surviving a number of crises, it closed down in 1852.

Digdarshan was also published in 1818. In 1821 a remarkable Bengali journal Sambad Kaumadi was published under the patronage of Raja Ram Mohan Roy. But it did not survive for long.

Sambad Pravakar was the first Bengali daily newspaper published in 1839, patronized by Iswar Chandra Gupta. It was followed by Tattobodhini, published by Akhya Kumar Dutta in 1843.

The other Bengali journals during this time were Samachar Chandrika, Bangadoot, Sambad Pravakar, Vividhartha Sangrah (1851), Masik Patra (1854), and Som Prakash (1851).

The first weekly within the territory of today's Bangladesh, Rangpur Bartabaha, was published in 1847 from Rangpur and the first weekly from Dhaka, Dacca News, was published in 1856. The long lasting Dhaka Prakash was first published in 1861 and Dhaka Darpan in 1863.

They early Bengali papers took up the cause of the oppressed workers in the indigo plantation, and of the peasants. Notable among them were the Som Prakash, the Grambartha Prakashika and the Amrita Bazar Patrika (before...
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