Press and the Growth of Modern Indian Languages and Literature





In 1798, lithography was invented. It used the specially prepared surface of a stone for printing a script, a picture, or drawing. A large number of copies of the same text could be printed in this way. From about 1820 onwards, hundreds of pamphlets and books were printed, which catered to the needs of the growing literate population of India. It was the biggest boon which the West had conferred on India. As a result, by the end of the nineteenth century, the press had become a powerful tool for influencing public opinion.

      Since the new printing presses were not costly, their number grew at a fast pace. This, in turn, encouraged a large number of writers to produce literature in different Indian languages. Their original works as well as translations and adaptations of old Indian and Western classics helped enrich our cultural heritage. This helped to bring about an awakening of the Indians.

      Weeklies, fortnightly journals and daily newspapers were published almost in every language. Although the total number of readers of newspapers was small as compared to their number in the European countries, a whole new set of national literature in the form of novels, essays and poems played a significant role in generating nationalism. Bankim Chandra’s Anandamatha, Dinabandhu Mitra’s Neeldarpan, Bhartendu Harish Chandra’s Bharat Durdasha, Lakshminath Bezbarua’s works in Assamese, Subramaniam Bharti’s writing in Tamil and Altaf Hussain’s works in Urdu stirred the minds of the Indians.

Role of Newspapers:

       Thus by the end of the nineteenth century the press in India had become a powerful and an
important instrument for creating, spreading, influencing and sharpening public opinion.

       Consequently, the newspapers played a significant role in the dissemination of anti-British feelings by discussing, criticizing and commenting on government policies and on major social and economic issues. This helped in promoting a pan-Indian consciousness and in giving important political education to the people of India.

Some important Newspapers:


The Hindoo Patriot (English)

The Amrita Bazar Patrika (English)


Maharatha (English),

Kesari (Marathi)


The Hindu (English),

Swadeshmitran (Tamil)


The Tribune (English)

Kohinoor, Akhbar Am (Urdu)


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