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Architects of Hindi Journalism

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Er. Prabhat Kishore
‘Udant Martand’ was the first Hindi weekly paper, which was published on 30th May 1826 from Kolkata. Shri Yugal 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 :-
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.
Born in Kanpur in the year 1788, Shuklaji was the Proceeding Reader in Diwani Kacheri of Kolkata and published ‘Udant Martand’ 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 thatthe 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:-
Aaj Diwastau Ugi Chukyon Maratand Udant.
Astachal Ko Jaat Hai Din Aab Aant.
Even after the closure of ‘Udant Martand’, the spirit of journalism continued to strike in Shuklaji’s heart. As a result, in 1850, after collecting some money, he started the publication of another paper named ‘Shamyadant Martand’. 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 ‘Dwivedi Yug’ in the history of Hindi journalism. Acharya Mahavir 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 ‘Dwivedi Yug’.
The publication of ‘Saraswati’ started from the Indian Press, Prayagin January 1900. Initially, its editorial board consisted of Babu Kartik Prasad Khatri, Kishori Lal Goswami, Babu Jagannath Prasad Das B.A., Babu Radhakrishna Das and Babu Shyam Sundar Das B.A. The motto of the magazine was: Saraswati Sriti Mahati Na Diya Tam.
There were essays on 59 subjects in the first issue of ‘Saraswati’. The last lines of itseditorial 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 Babu Radhakrishna Das was related to Bharatendu Harishchandra. In this sequence, the author has discussed the motto of ‘Kavi Vachan Sudha’, whose opening lines are as:- “Khal Gagan Se Sajan Dukhi, Mati Rohi, Hari Param Tir Hai. Up Dharma Chhutai Swat Nij, Bharat Gahai Kar Dukh Bhai”.
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, Babu Chintamani Ghosh published ‘Saraswati’.
In those days a message printed on ‘Saraswati’ was as – ‘Kashi Nagari Pracharani Sabha Dwara Anumodit’. 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 ‘Kashi Nagari Pracharani Sabha Dwara Anumodit’ 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 Mahamana Madan 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, Rajarshi Purushotam 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 Madhav Rao Sapre, which contained Hindi translation of Lokmanya Tilak’s writings. In the year 1909Tilak and Sapre were tried for sedition, but surprisingly Sapre apologized. Unhappy with this happening, the publication of Hind Keshri 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 Shri Moolchand Agrawal, 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, Bharatendu Harishchandra and others gave a new direction to journalism with their writings.
(Author is a technocrat & educationist.)

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