Origin and Development of Hindi Journalism

Er. Prabhat Kishore

“Udant Martand” was the first Hindi newspaper. The journey of the era of Hindi newspapers in India begins with this weekly paper published from Kolkata on 30th May 1826. Published under the editorship of Shri Yugal Kishore Shukla, “Udant Martand” was the luminary in the form of news, which illuminated and guided the path of Hindi journalism. The notable verse printed on this paper was :-

Dinkar  Kar  Pragatat  Dinhin  Yah  Prakash  Ath  Yam

Aiso  Ravi  Aab  Ugaun  Mahi,  Jehi  Sukh  Ko  Dham.

Aant  Kamalani  Vigsit  Karat   Badhat  Chav  Chit  Vaam

Let  Nam  Ya  Patra  Ko  Hot  Harsh  Aru  Kam.

The 'Bangdoot' weekly was brought out from Kolkata itself on 10 May 1829. Published in collaboration with Raja Ram Mohan Roy and under the editorship of Nilratna Haldhar, this paper was originally in Bangla, which was also printed in Hindi as required. The verses quoted above the Hindi part of 'Bangdoot' were –

Bhutal  Ki  Yah  Rit  Bahut  Thode  Mein  Bhakhe

Logani  Le  Bahu  Lag  Hoye  Yahi  Te  Lakhe

Bangala  Ki  Doot-Poot  Yahi  Vayu  Ko  Jano

Hoye  Vidit  Sab  Desh  Klesh  Ko  Lesh  Na  Mano.

The life journey of 'Bangdoot' ended on July 30, 1829, after the release of only twelve issues. The weekly “Banaras Akhbar” was the first newspaper to come out of the Hindi region. In 1845, the paper came out from Kashi under the editorship of Shri Govind Raghunath Tathate. In 1846, “Indian Sun” was published from Kolkata in five languages ​​like “Bengal Herald” and “Bangdoot”. It had ten pages and each page had five columns. The name of its Hindi edition was “Martand”.

“Sudhavarshan” was the first Hindi daily, which came out in the year 1854 from Bada Bazar in Kolkata. Originally it was a bilingual paper, with the first two pages in Hindi and the remaining two pages in Bengali. Its editor was Shyam Sundar Sen. The  “Pyame Azadi” was taken out from Delhi in 1857 by Shri Ajimullah Khan, the leader of the freedom movement. Earlier it used to come out in Urdu, but soon it started coming in Hindi also. The idea was to bring out its edition from Jhansi as well. The first famous Indian national anthem of 1857 was published in this paper, the opening lines of which were-

Ham  Hain  Esake  Malik  Hindustan Hamara

Baat  Vatan  Hai  Kaum  Ka  Jannat  Se  Bhi  Pyara.

Mirza Bedar Bakht, the editor of “Pyame Azadi”, was hanged by the British rulers. Simultaneously, an injunction was issued by Mr. Henry Cotton that whoever found the copies of  “Pyame Azadi” would be liable to the death penalty. This is probably the first incident in the history of newspapers when the entire family of the readers of a newspaper has been sentenced.

In 1859, “Dharmaprakash” from Ahmedabad and in 1863 “Mrit Lokhit” from Ara by missionaries was published. The publication of  “Marwad Gazette” started in 1866. In 1867, a bilingual paper “Vidya Vilas” in  Hindi and Urdu came out from Jammu and Kashmir. The period of 1826-67 is the period of emergence and development of Hindi journalism in India. The newspapers and magazines, that came out during this period, worked to make way for Indian journalism. Later, with the debut of Bharatendu Harishchandra in the world of journalism, journalism got a new dimension, a new form and a new direction and in the true sense, the foundation of a new era was laid.

Bharatendu Era:-

The development journey of the era of Hindi journalism had started with “Udant Martand”, which continued through daily, weekly and monthly medium till the Bharatendu era. The Bhartendu era (1867-1885) is considered to be the second era in the history of Hindi journalism, starting from the year 1867. In the same year Bharatendu Harishchandra started the publication of a monthly magazine named “Kavi Vachan Sudha”. This magazine was considered by the French writer Tasi as a 'Distinguished Newspaper'. The Bharatendu era was poetry-oriented and the price of “Kavi Vachan Sudha”, etc. was also printed in verse.

Sat  Mudra  Pahale  Diye  Vaarsh  Bitaye  Saat

Sath  Chandrika  Ke  Liye, Dasaven  Dou Mil  Jaat.

Bharatendu Harishchandra, the pioneer of Hindi journalism, was born on 9th  September 1850 and went to heaven on 6 January 1885 at the age of 35. He took up  literary creation as a mission and started monthly “Kavi Vachan Sudha” from Kashi in 1867. After publishing some issues, it was made fortnightly. In 1873 itself, Bharatenduji started publishing the monthly magazine “Harishchandra Magazine” and worked to popularise modern Hindi. Vyasji considered him an immortal gift of Hindi journalism. In 1874, this magazine became “Harishchandra Chandrika” and was published for eight years. This was the third magazine to come out of Kashi. In 1884, he started the publication of his new “Harishchandra Chandrika” and continued it till the last moment of his life. He also brought out a Vaishnavism-oriented magazine called “Bhagvat Toshini”, which lasted for a year.

Another example of Bharatendu era being poetic is the 'Brahmin' paper. Its editor Pratap Narayan Mishra, tired of asking for the donation of the paper, sometimes had to plead through the verse – Aath  Maas  Bite  Jajman.  Aab  To  Karo  Dakshina  Daan.

The motto of “Kavi Vachan Sudha” was- Nitya-Nitya  Nav  Yah,  Kavi  Vachan  Sudha  Sakal  Ras  Khani.  Piahun  Rasik  Aanand  Bhari,  Param  Raag  Jiya  Jaani.  Sudha  Sada  Surpur  Basay  Se  Nay  Tumhare  Jog.  Taso  Aadar  Dehu  Aaru  Piahun  Yahi  Budh  Log.

 When “Kavi Vachan Sudha” was a monthly paper, then the works of ancient poets edited by Bharatendu ji were published in it. When it became a  fortnightly, political and social essays started getting published. According to the Uttar Pradesh Gazette, a total of 250 copies were printed, out of  which 100 copies was taken by the British government and 150 copies were consumed by the public. This was the time when only two or four copies of some papers could reach the public.

The area of “Harishchandra Chandrika” was very vast. Literature, science, religious articles, archaeology, book reviews, drama, novels, history, poetry, gossip, humor and satirical were published in the newspaper. So many subjects could not have been conceived then. Bharatendu ji believed that for the progress of the country, not only the indigenous thing, but also  its own language is  essential. He hated the teaching of slavery. His motto was – Nij  Bhasha  Unnati  Yahe  Sab  Unnati  Ki  Mool.  Bin  Nij  Bhasha  Gyan  Ke  Mitay  Nahiy  Ko  Sool.

Every writer or poet of the Bharatendu era was the editor of some paper. These papers gave strength to the reformist movement and gave impetus to the art of essay. But in spite of all this, no paper could last long due to lack of education and interest. During Harishchandra's lifetime, 25 magazines came out, in which three papers “Bharat Mitra” (Fortnightly, 1872), “Sar Sudha Nidhi” (Weekly, 1887) and “Uchit Vakta” (Weekly, 1880) were published from Kolkata. Its motivator and director was Durga Prasad Mishra.

The story of  weekly “Matwala”  published from Kolkata is interesting. The verse printed on its front page explains the spirit and objectives of the newspaper. Amiya  Garar  Rashi  Sikar,  Rivkar  Ram  Viram  Bhara  Pyala.  Pite  Hain  Jo  Sadhak,  Unka  Pyara  Hai  Yah  Matwala.

 Dr. Ram Vilas Sharma has written in relation to the Bharatendu era that despite not having a tradition of Newspaper-literature, the progress he made in a short time was the passion  of the writers. Despite the harsh conditions, he proved himself to be tenacious. If the writers of that era had not shown this zeal and arrogance, they would surely have been crushed under the prevailing circumstances. Bharatendu ji’s journalism was non-partisan, fearless and in favour of justice. His journalism was discussed and praised everywhere not only in the country but also abroad. Undoubtedly, he was a prolific journalist.

(Author is a technocrat & educationist.)



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