Conquest of India
Early Resistance to British Rule
Nationalism in India
Indian Freedom Struggle Under Gandhiji
Social Reforms in British India
Partition of India
Other Important Topics

20. History of Struggles to Secure Freedom of Press in India

1. Politically conscious Indians were attracted to modern civil rights especially the Freedom of Press.

2. The Press was the chief instrument of carrying out this task- for arousing, training,mobilizing and consolidating nationalist public opinion.

3. Powerful newspapers emerged during this period: The Hindu and Swadesamitran (G.Subramanya Iyer); Kesari and Mahratta (Tilak); Bengalee (Surendranath Banerjea); Amrita
Bazar Patrika (Sisir Kumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh); Sudharak (G.K. Gokhale); Indian Mirror (N.N. Sen); Voice of India (Dadabhai Naoroji) etc.

4. The influence of the Press extended far beyond its literate subscribers, into remote villages.

5. Gradually the ‘library movement’ sprung up. A local library around a single newspaper was constituted with a table, a bench or two as the capital equipment. The newspaper became a
political educator and reading and discussing it became a form of political participation.

6. played the institutional role of opposition to the Government.

7. However, to inculcate nationalism through the Press was no easy task, for there was Section 124A of the IPC.

8. The Indian journalists thus evolved a distinct style of writing to remain outside the reach of law.

9. Invariable every critical writing was combined with sentiments of loyalty to the Government and the Queen.

10. Indian newspapers reached a point during Lytton’s administration which was highly inhuman in its approach.

11. In retaliation, the Vernacular Press Act, 1878 was passed directing against Indian language newspapers. It provided for confiscating the printing press, paper and other materials of a newspaper if it published seditious material against the Government. Surendranath Banerjea
was the first Indian to go to jail as a journalist.

12. Tilak, the outstanding militant nationalist is popularly associated to the Freedom of Press. He founded Kesari (Marathi) and Mahratta (English). In 1893, he started the practice of traditional Ganapati festival to propagate nationalist ideas through patriotic songs and speeches and in 1986 he started the Shivaji festival to stimulate nationalism in Maharashtra.

13. charged him under Section 124A of the IPC. The title of ‘Lokamanya’ was given to him.

14. Later, condemned the use of violence but then said, in such an atmosphere ‘violence,however deplorable, was inevitable’. He was again arrested and charged for sedition.

Read more:- Freedom of the press in India

Also read:- Home Rule Movement of 1916