History of Hindi Journalism

Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee
Professor and Head of the Institute
Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC)
Sanchar Marg, Dhenkanal-759001, Orissa (India)

The first Hindi newspaper Oodhund Martand, a weekly was published in Kolkata on May 30, 1826 'in the interest of Hindustanis'. However, its editor Yugal Kishore Shukla (Jooghol Kishore Sookool- in some documents) faced many difficulties in running it. He was not allowed postal concession and had to close down the paper within a year. He made another attempt to start another paper in 1850 called Samyadani Martand but this also failed. 

The second Hindi newspaper Banga Doot was published in 1829 by Raja Ram Mohan Ray and Dwarika Prasad Thakore with Nilratan Haldar as its editor. Besides Hindi, it was also published in English, Bengali and Persian.

The first Hindi daily Samachar Sudha Varshan came out in June 1854 from Kolkata with Shyam Sundar Sen as its editor and publisher. It was a bilingual paper in which market and shipping reports were published in Hindi, the rest in Bengali.

Between 1850 and 1857 a number of Hindi Newspaper were published. Among them were Benaras Akbar, Sudhakar Tatwa BodhiniPatrika and Sathya. A literary magazine which set the standard for Hindi Journals in the early year of century was Saraswathi, a monthly edited by Mahavir Prasad Dwibedy. It standardised the style and pattern of Hindi journalism and developed literary criticism and book reviews. It became the torchbearer for later day Hindi journalists who cultivated its prose style. Newspapers like Bharat Mitra (1878), Sarsudhanidhi (1879), Uchit Wakta (1880) and Hindi Bangavasi (1890) were published from Calcutta during the last three decades of 19th century. Bharat Mitra, published from Calcutta became the leading Hindi newspaper of the time under the dynamic stewardship of its early editors, Balmukund Gupta and Ambika Prasad Bajpai.

The beginning of the new century saw the birth of many Hindi dailies in Bombay, Calcutta and Patna. The more prominent among them were Sri Venkateswar Samachar and Calcutta  Samachar. Viswamitra, which was started after the Calcutta Samachar became defunct, offered serious competition to Bharat Mitra from 1918.

Hindi journalism made rapid progress during the first world war period and many outstanding journalists came to the fore including Ganga Prasad Gupta, Nanda Kumar Deo Dharma, M. P.  Dwivedi, Hari Krishna Jouhar, Chhote Ram Shukla, Indra Vidyavachaspati, Shri Ram Pandey, Lakshminarayan Garde and Narmada Prasad Misra. One of the foremost Hindi journalists who earned a name for his patriotism was Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi. In 1913, he brought out weekly Pratap from Kanpur. He made the supreme sacrifice in 1931 in the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity. Krishna Dutt Paliwal brought out Sainik from Agra which became a staunch propagator of nationalism in Western U. P. The noted Congress leader, Swami Shradhanand, started the publication of Hindi journal Vir Arjun and Urdu journal Tej. After the assassination of Swami Shradhanand, Vidyavachaspathi and Lala Deshbandhu Gupta, both prominent Congress leaders  continued the publication of these journals.

At the turn of the century almost all Calcutta based Hindi newspapers went vocal against the suppressive and divisive policies of the Raj. This marked the beginning in 1907- of two outstanding magazines: Nrisinha and Devnagar. Nrisinha edited by Ambika Prasad Vajpayee, a stauch supporter of Lokmanya Tilak was a political magazine and it joined the protest against British rule. Devnagar on the other hand tried to work on a uniform script.1

In 1920, the Aj was started in Banaras. It played a notable part in the freedom struggle. Its first editor was Sri Prakasa, a great freedom fighter who occupied positions of power and prestige in free India. He was assisted by Babu Rao Vishnu Parakar whose contribution to the development of Hindi Journalism was considerable. Espousing the national cause and waging a never-ending battle with the alien rulers, the Aj was a   bulwark of the Indian National Congress and its main forum to spread the message of freedom to the Hindi-speaking masses of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Nepal. It set the tone and style for Hindi Journalism and was acclaimed for its impartial objective reporting and illuminating and fearless editorials. A balanced blending of national and international news was one of its strong features.

In Patna the Desh, a weekly, was an influential journal and the mouthpiece of the Congress. It was founded by Babu Rajendra Prasad and his friends in 1920. But it was not a profitable venture and had to close down.

In 1924 there were 102 Hindi newspapers; four of them were dailies (AJ, Banaras, Swatantra, Calcutta, Arjun, Delhi and Calcutta Samachar, Calcutta) According to  one historian, until 1926, Hindi dailies were not financially successful.  "Their get up and printing was poor, the reading material not quite up to the mark and the editorials unwieldy and lengthy. The weeklies were better edited and got up." Among the well-known better produced weeklies were Bhavishya (Kanpur), Karmaveer (Khandwa) and Sainik (Agra). Among the important Hindi dailies which flourished in 1930 were: Visvamitra and Bharat Mitra (Calcutta), Savadho Bharat (Bombay). Lokkat (Jabalpur), Variman (Kanpur), Milap (Lahore) besides  AJ (Banaras), Arjun(Delhi) and Lokmanya (Calcutta).

As freedom struggle gained momentum, there was a steady rise of Hindi journalism both in terms of quality and quantity. More number of Hindi publications took birth in almost all North Indian states and also in Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, especially Hyderabad. Hindi publications like other language publications by and large supported Nationalist movement and faced the suppression of the British rulers. One of the important Hindi dailies to be published from the capital was Hindustan, sister newspaper of the Hindustan Times, started in 1936.  Wide news coverage and a variety of special features marked the Hindustan. Started in 1940, Aryavari of Patna was a sister publication of the Indian Nation and enjoyed considerable influence.

Hindi journalism grew more rapidly after independence. After independence Hindi was adopted as the official language of India. 2 This also helped to spread Hindi language nationwide. The Nav Bharat Times of the Times of India group started in Delhi in 1950. The Amrita Patrika of Allahabad was another notable Hindi daily which was well-known for its trenchant editorials. By 1964 Hindi had the largest number of newspapers among language papers. The trend of publishing multiple editions from different states helped Hindi newspapers to increase their reach and circulation.

According to RNI (Registrar of Newspapers) the total number of publications in Hindi was 27, 527 in 2007-8 including 3418 daily newspapers.

By 2011 Hindi daily Dainik Jagran claimed to be the largest read newspaper of the world. Six out of the top ten newspapers with highest number of readership in India are Hindi. According to IRS (Indian Readership survey Q-2) the top ten largest read Hindi newspapers are: Dainik Jagran (readership: 159.1 lakh), Dainik Bhaskar (140.1 lakh), Hindustan (118.1 lakh), Amar Ujala  (87.47 lakh), Rajasthan Patrika  ( 70.33 lakh), Punjab Kesari (34.79 lakh),  Navbharat Times  (25,89,000) Prabhat Khabar    (18,12,000), Nai Dunia (17.62  lakh) and Hari Bhoomi (14.37 lakh). All of the newspapers have multiple editions from different cities and states.

Hindi newspapers are published from several states. Besides the North Indian Hindi belt, sizable numbers of Hindi publications are there in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and other states. There are two good Hindi dailies from Hyderabad Swatantra Vaartha and Milap. Sanmarg has an edition from Bhubaneswar, Orissa.

There are over 100 Hindi news channels including Aaj Tak, IBN-7, Azad NEWS, Maurya Tv, AryanNews, News 7 Network, Khoj India, India TV, Raftaar News Channel, Live India, NDTV India, India News, News 24, Press TV, Sudarshan News, Sahara Samay, STAR News, Zee News, Zee Business, DD News, Total TV, A2Z News, Crime Nazar News, Channel No. 1, S-7 News, Mahua news, ETV Bihar, Time Today, DayNightnews, Jansandesh.tv, GNN News, P7, TV 24 News, newsxpress,  tv9 Mumabi, Sea News, Taaza TV, etc.

There is innumerable number of Hindi news sites now.

The author, a journalist turned media academician presently heads Dhenkanal campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication. The article forms a part of his forthcoming book 'History of Journalism in Orissa'.
www.mrinalchatterjee.in | mrinaliimc@yahoo.in.

1. Justice Sarada Charan Mitra's organization Ek Lipi Vistar Parishad, established in 1905 to promote the cause of Independence and present write-ups of various languages in a uniform script, Devnagari lauched the magazine Devnagar as the parishad mouthpiece in 1907.  The Origin and Growth of Hindi Journalism in Kolkata, Prof(Dr.) Krishna Bihari Mishra, Press Club, Kolkata, 2005
2. Article 343(1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the Official Language of the Union.


   Published on IndianFaculty.com: 13/10/2011

 Source: E-mail 13/10/2011

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