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Architects of Hindi Journalism

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By: Er. Prabhat Kishore

‘UdantMartand’ was the first Hindi weekly paper, which was published on 30th May 1826 from Kolkata. ShriYugal Kishore Shukla single-handedly carried out the work of publishing this first paper of Hindi in a resourceless state for the benefit of Indians. The notable verse printed on this paper was:-

DinkarKarPragatatDinhin  Yah  PrakashAth  Yam

Aiso  RaviAabUgaunMahi,  JehiSukhKoDham.

AantKamalaniVigsit  Karat   Badhat  Chav  Chit  Vaam

Let  NamYaPatraKo  Hot  Harsh  AruKam.

Born in Kanpur in the year 1788, Shuklaji was the Proceeding Reader in DiwaniKacheri of Kolkata and published ‘UdantMartand’ for the Hindi loving people. Then its price was two rupees per annum. Looking at the news and other materials published in the paper, it appears that the foundation of journalism in those days was laid on struggle, sacrifice and fearlessness.

Apart from domestic, foreign and local news, comments and articles on humor and satire were also published. It contained the appointment of government officials, fortnightly letters, time of arrival and departure of ships and the market rates of Kolkata. He was confident that this newspaper would get the full support of the government and the public and would continue its journey uninterrupted. But his hope was not fulfilled. As a result, due to his limited resources and meager capital, he had to close down the paper after one and a half years with its last issue of December 4, 1827. In its concluding issue, he expressed his anguish as follows:-


AstachalKoJaatHai  Din  AabAant.

Even after the closure of ‘UdantMartand’, the spirit of journalism continued to strike  inShuklaji’s heart. As a result, in 1850, after collecting some money, he started the publication of another paper named ‘ShamyadantMartand’. This was a shining symbol of Shuklaji’s vibrant journalism. But misfortunes follow him again and due to lack of capital, it has to be closed after two years. It was the courage of Shuklaji’s hardworking personality that he took the initiative to publish the Hindi newspaper without any kind of government assistance. The self-respecting nature of Shuklaji was never acceptable to bow down to the British bureaucracy. This remarkable man, who single-handedly inaugurated the door of Hindi journalism, died in 1853 in Kolkata.

The first two decades of  20th century is famous as the ‘DwivediYug’ in the history of Hindi journalism. AcharyaMahavir Prasad Dwivedi, the promoter of literary and cultural journalism, took the editorship of ‘Saraswati’ in 1903 and continued to edit it till 1920. In this period he gave  new direction and  dimension to journalism, due to which this period is termed as ‘DwivediYug’.

The publication of ‘Saraswati’ started from the Indian Press, Prayag in January 1900. Initially, its editorial board consisted of BabuKartik Prasad Khatri, KishoriLalGoswami, BabuJagannath Prasad Das B.A., BabuRadhakrishna Das and BabuShyamSundar Das B.A. The motto of the magazine was :SaraswatiSritiMahati  Na  Diya  Tam.

There were essays on 59 subjects in the first issue of ‘Saraswati’. The last lines of its editorial are worth praising: – “Due to the immense compassion of the Supreme Karunik Almighty Jagdishwar such a unique opportunity has been received that today we are excited with new enthusiasm in the service of the spiritual people of Hindi and have come with a new gift whose Name is Saraswati.

In the issue of ‘Saraswati’, an essay by BabuRadhakrishna Das was related to BharatenduHarishchandra. In this sequence, the author has discussed the motto of ‘KaviVachanSudha’, whose opening lines are as :- “KhalGagan  Se  SajanDukhi, MatiRohi, HariParamTirHai. Up  Dharma  Chhutai  Swat  Nij,  Bharat  GahaiKarDukhBhai”.

Unnayak Prasad Vajpayee, the exclusive of modern journalism, has written in relation to ‘Saraswati’ in the history of newspapers: – ‘In 1900, the President of Indian Press of Prayag, BabuChintamaniGhosh published ‘Saraswati’.

In those days a message printed on ‘Saraswati’ was as – ‘KashiNagariPracharaniSabhaDwaraAnumodit’. This meant that Saraswati had the support of the Sabha. Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi used to send articles and poems in ‘Saraswati’ even from his service period as Telegraph Inspector in GIP Railway in Jhansi (probably 1901 or 1902). In the year 1903, when he became the editor of ‘Saraswati’, the line ‘KashiNagariPracharaniSabhaDwaraAnumodit’  was removed from the paper. During the editorship of Dwivedi, ‘Saraswati’ made great progress and in the Hindi world, his essays became fierce. He became a source of inspiration for Hindi writers and journalists. He wrote many comments in Saraswati  on the ability to edit and the education system of editorial arts.

In the year 1907, with the efforts of MahamanaMadan Mohan Malaviya, one of the propagator of Indian journalism, the publication of a Hindi weekly named ‘Sahitya’ was started from Prayag. Initially Malaviyaji himself was its editor, but when he became more busy in public works, RajarshiPurushotam Das Tandon took over its editorship. During the First World War it was briefly converted to a daily, which was again made a weekly.

Around 1907, ‘Hind Keshri’ came out from Nagpur in the editorship of  MadhavRaoSapre, which contained Hindi translation of LokmanyaTilak’s writings. In the year 1909 Tilak and Sapre were tried for sedition, but surprisingly Sapre apologized. Unhappy with this happening, the publication of  HindKeshri was stopped.

Many Hindi papers came out during the First World War (1914–1918), but most of them were discontinued after the end of the war. Only ‘Vishwamitra’ which came out from Kolkata in 1915 with the effort of ShriMoolchandAgrawal, is still being published today. It was also published from Mumbai, Delhi and Pataliputra, but later it was closed. In contemporary or later dates, literary journalists like Baburao Vishnu Paradkar, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, BharatenduHarishchandra and others gave a new direction to journalism with their writings.

(Author is a technocrat & educationist)

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