THE LINK BETWEEN NEWSPAPERS AND LITERACY
An Essay by Deepa Venkatesan , T.Y.BMM
A newspaper which loses its value every passing hour once published and out-read by a reader has, in layman’s terms, maybe an investment of just a rupee or three. But that very newspaper has a long past and has shaped the Indian History in ways unimaginable. From becoming a poor man’s tool towards literacy to influencing political rule, regional language newspapers have penetrated in the ground level. There are a lot many incidents that contributed to the growth of regional journalism in India. Increase in literacy rate, vernacularisation and localisation of news content, adequate purchasing power, aggressive publishers and advertisers gauging for capitalistic phenomena etc are some of the cited reasons for the growth. But what is the most important link to all of it? Why would a person want to buy a newspaper? The driving point is the content in the newspaper. Robin Jeffrey rightly points out in his paper on “Indian language newspapers- why they grow” - the major reason for the revolution and expansion of newspapers in a democracy like India is the ‘political’ excitement—awareness, 'politicisation—has spread to large sections of the population, especially in the Hindi areas, and has created a desire-to-know which fuels newspaper buying. This essay seeks to revisit the revolution of newspapers, especially the regional ones in a country like India and its vast reaching effects on influencing politically driven masses. Post the Independence in 1947, regional languages played a powerful role in uniting the people of a particular language. If we observe, largely all the political boundaries of a state are divided based on the common language communicated in that particular region. These people with a common language shared similar social and political interests as well. Thus Varshney (2000:3) argues that “if the Hindu-Muslim cleavage has been a ‘master narrative’ of...
Citations: Documentary film- Raam Ke Naam, Anand Patwardhan.
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Ninan, From headlines to Heartland, 2007, p.135.
Ajitha Menon, Reporting Ayodhya- III, www.hoot.org, Oct 25, 2010.
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