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The Role of Muslim Press During the War of Independence 1857 and ...

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The Role of Muslim Press During the War of Independence 1857 and Afterwards

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Although, the War of Independence 1857 is considered to be the most written about event of the world history, but still many of its dimensions seem to be enveloped in confusion and elusiveness and the role of the press is one of them. The enforcement of the Gagging Act of 1857 is a testimony to the significance of press during the War in the eyes of the rulers, which made it necessary for the newspapers to obtain license for printing7. In fact till May 1857 there was no change in the laws governing the newspapers in India. When the War broke out in May 1857, the Indian press had no less than, 75 years old tradition. Apart from English language press, which was largely patronized by the British ruling class and yet was confined to the elite of Indian society, a number of Persian, Urdu, Bengali and other vernacular papers have had their roots in the society as a whole. This press may be classified into four categories.

1. English and vernacular press that enjoyed full support and patronage of East India Company, their officers and other English citizens, and was playing its role accordingly. Jām-i Jahān Numa, Fawā’id al-NaÐrīn, Qirān al-Sa’adayn, Kōh-i Nūr, Øadar al-Akhbār, Kurrachi Advertiser, Lahore Chronicle and The Panjabee are only a few to mention.8

2. Those English, Bengali, Persian and other language newspapers, which were founded by educated Indians, like Raja Ram Mohan Rai, Dawarka Nath Tegore, Hari Dutt and many others. Their reformist press was different from that of Delhi and adjoining areas. These nationalist Indians used their press with a complete understanding of the changing political economic and cultural environment with major focus on development of society and the people.

3. There were some Urdu newspapers that were supported by the rulers and Nawabs of Indian States, mostly to please the newspaper owners or to make use of them for achieving certain goals. For example, Raja of Nepal, supported Banaras Gazette. MaÐhar al-Surūr of...

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