Indian Regional Newspapers vs English Newspapers

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Indian Regional Journalism

By Zeba Siddiqui


1) The Fourth Estate

2) Introduction to Regional Indian Newspapers

3) English Newspapers
• Free Press Journal
• Indian Express

4) Marathi Newspapers
• Saamna
• Lokmat

5) Urdu Newspapers
• Inquilab
• Urdu Times

6) Gujarati & Hindi Newspapers
• Divya Bhaskar
• Navbharat

7) Significant Schisms & Analysis

The Fourth Estate

“In May 1789, Louis XVI summoned to Versailles a full meeting of the 'Estates General'. The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, 'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.’” --Jeffery Archer (The Fourth Estate)

Centuries later, today, Burke’s words about the power of the ‘Fourth Estate’ seem more accurate than ever. The power of the press, which he so highly glorified, continues to grow all over the world, so why should India be any different? Today, in India, the press indeed forms the fourth and the most important pillar—the pillar supporting democracy and public opinion, as well as helping to bring about the social, political and economic development of the country.

‘The Bengal Gazette’ was the first newspaper to come out in India, brought out in Calcutta by ‘The Father of the Indian Press’--Sir James Augustus Hickey back in 1780 A.D. This was the first in a country which was to later become the largest producer of newspapers in the world. Since the Gazette, thousands of newspapers have been brought out in regions across the country. The history of our freedom struggle itself reveals great conquests led by many a freedom fighters with their effective use of the printed word. Acclaimed warriors of India’s struggle for independence like Lokmanya Tilak also used newspapers to spray their messages among the people. Mahatma Gandhi started Harijan, Young India and Navjeevan all of which carried effective and tremendously influential anecdotes to guide and awaken the masses to join in the non-violent struggle. It was such effective use of the newspapers and their incitement of anti-British fervour among the Indian masses which eventually led to our emerging victorious on the 15th August, 1947. The Indian press has helped bring about the socio-economic development of our country since independence. This indicates its stability.

While the many of the early newspaper to come out in our country were in the English language, they were, not long after succeeded by several influential regional language newspapers. Today, there are just so many regional language newspapers in India, that the competition is not so much between the English publications and the regional ones, as it amongst the regional language newspapers.

Introduction to Regional Indian Newspapers

For a country with the second largest population in the world and the kind of cultural diversity to rival nations, the literacy rate of India is not something to be boastful about. But the newspaper circulation is. With over 1,795 daily publications, India has the largest number of daily newspapers in the world. And that’s notwithstanding the number of online newspapers along the lines of the Huffington Post which are in the offing.

Clearly, the Indian masses have finally woken up to the wonders of the media and the newspaper revolution is on in full flow. One major thing that cultural diversity in any country leads to is the multiplicity of languages. In that respect, one another thing that India can be boastful about is the staggering number of languages!

While individual mother tongues in India amount to several hundreds, the official language of the Republic...
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