History (NTSE/Olympiad)  

4. Print Culture and The Modern World

India and the World of Print

India and the World of Print
(a) Manuscripts Before the age of print :
India had a very rich and old tradition of hand written manuscripts in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, as well as in various vernacular languages. Manuscripts continued to be produced till well after the introduction of print. Down to the late nineteenth century.
Manuscripts were however very expensive and fragile and had to be handled carefully, and they could not be read easily as the script were written in different styles. So the manuscripts were not widely used in everyday life.
(b) Print comes to India :
Portuguese missionaries brought printing press to Goa in mid-sixteenth century. Jesuit priests printed several pamphlets in Konkani, after learning it. By 1674. about 50 books were printed in Konkani and Kanara languages. In 1579, Catholic priests printed the first Tamil book in Cochin. In 1773 the first Malayalam book was printed by them. Dutch protestant Missionaries printed 32 Tamil texts, these were translations of older works.
First regular periodical in India was the "Hickey's Bengal Gazette", brought out by James Augustus Hickey. Magazine contained advertisements, some about import and sale of slaves, juicy gossips about the private life of senior company officers. This enraged the Governor-General Warren Hastings. He persecuted Hickey, and encouraged publication of officially sanctioned newspapers that could counter the flow of information that damaged the image of the colonial government. End of 18th century, a number of newspapers journals appeared in print. Indians also began to publish Indian newspapers. First to appear was the weekly "Bengal Gazette" brought out by Gangadhar Bhattacharya.


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