Important Historical Literature/Books/Newspapers in the Freedom Struggle/Development of Indian Press


10th Aug 2020


Important Newspapers associated with the freedom Struggle

Name of the Paper or journal      
Year and Place  of Publication
Name of the Founder or  Editor              
 Bengal Gazette

1780, Calcutta

James Augustus Hicky

India Gazette 1787, Calcutta Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was associated with it

Bombay Herald    (First Paper from                   Bombay)

1789, Bombay ————

Digdarshana (First Bengali Monthly)

1818, Calcutta


 Bengal Gazette        (First Bengali                    Newspaper) 1818, Calcutta Harishchandra Ray
 Sambad Kaumudi (Weekly in Bengali)


1821 Raja Ram Mohan Roy
 Mirat-ul-Akbar          (First Journal in        Persian) 1822, Calcutta Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Banga-Duta            (A weekly in four languages- English, Bengali, Persian, Hindi) 1822, Calcutta Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Dwarkanath Tagore and others.
Bombay Times   (From 1861 onwards, The Times of India) 1838, Bombay Foundation laid by Robert Knight                            Started by Thomas Bennett
 Rast Goftar            (A Gujarati fortnightly) 1851 Dadabhai Naoroji
      Hindu Patriot 1853, Calcutta Girishchandra Ghosh

1862, Calcutta

Girishchandra Ghosh (Taken over by S.N. Banerjea in 1879)
 Amrit Bazar Patrika 1868, Jessore District Sisirkumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh
    Bangadarshana              (In Begali) 1873, Calcutta Bankimchandra Chatterji
 Indian Statesman

(Later, The Statesman)

1875, Calcutta Started by Robert Knight
 The Hindu (In Egnlish)

(Started as weekly)

1878, Madras G.S. Aiyar, Viraraghavachari and Subha Rao Pandit
 Tribune (daily) 1881, Lahore Dayal Singh Majeetia
Kesari(Marathi daily)             and    Maharatta (English            weekly) 1881, Bombay Tilak, Chiplunkar, Agarkar
Swadeshmitran                  (A Tamil paper) Madras

G.S. Aiyar

 Paridasak (a weekly) 1886 Bipin Chandra Pal (publisher)


1906, Bengal

Barindra Kumar Ghosh andBhupendra Dutta

 Indian Sociologist


Shyamji Krishnavarma

 Bande Matram


Madam Bhikaji Kama



Virendranath Chattopadhyay



Ghadar Party

Bombay Chronicle               (a daily)

1913, Bombay

Started by Pherozeshah Mehta

The Hindustan Times

1920, Delhi Founded by K. M. Panikkar as a part of the Akali Dal Movement

Leader (in English)

     ———- Madan Mohan Malaviya

Bahishkrit Bharat (Marathi fortnightly)


B. R. Ambedkar

   Kudi Arasu (Tamil)


E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar)

Bandi Jivan


Sachindranath Sanyal

National Herald


Started by Jawaharlal Nehru

Important books were written during the Indian freedom struggle

Name of the bookAuthor
Ghulam GiriJyotiba Phule
Causes of the Indian MutinySir Syyed Ahmed Khan
To all fighters of freedom, Why SocialismJ.P. Narayan
PakhtoonKhan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
Problems of the EastLord Curzon
My Indian YearsLord Hardinge II
Economic History of IndiaR.C. Dutt
Pather PanchaliBibhuti Bhushan Banerjee
Precepts of JesusRaja Ram Mohan Roy
A Gift of MonotheistsRaja Ram Mohan Roy
Satyarth PrakashSwami Dayanand Saraswati
Anand MathBankim C. Chatterjee
Devi ChaudharaniBankim C. Chatterjee
SitaramBankim C. Chatterjee
The Indian StruggleS.C. Bose
Poverty & Un-British Rule in IndiaDadabhai Naoroji
The Spirit of IslamSyyed Ameer Ali
A Nation in the MakingS.N. Banerjee
Unhappy IndiaLala Lajpat Rai
The Indian War of IndependenceV. D. Savarkar
India DividedRajendra Prasad
The Discovery of IndiaJawahar Lal Nehru
Neel DarpanDinbandhu Mitra
Hind SwarajM.K. Gandhi
What Congress and Gandhi have done to the untouchablesB.R. Ambedkar

Development of Press in India

  • James Augustus Hickey in 1780 started The Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser, the first newspaper in India, which was seized in 1872 because of its outspoken criticism of the Government.
  • Later more newspapers/journals came up—The Bengal Journal, The Calcutta Chronicle, The Madras Courier, The Bombay Herald.
  • The Company’s officers were worried that these newspapers might reach London and expose their misdeeds. Thus they saw the need for curbs on the press.

Early Regulations on press

  • Censorship of Press Act, 1799: Lord Wellesley enacted this, anticipating the French invasion of India. It imposed almost wartime press restrictions including pre-censorship.
  • Licensing Regulations, 1823: The acting governor-general, John Adams, who had reactionary views, enacted these. According to these regulations, starting or using a press without a license was a penal offense. Rammohan Roy’s Mirat-ul-Akbar had to stop publication.
  • Press Act of 1835 or Metcalfe Act: Metcalfe (governor-general— 1835-36) repealed the obnoxious 1823 ordinance. The new Press Act (1835) required a printer/publisher to give a precise account of premises of a publication
  • Licensing Act, 1857: Due to the emergency caused by the 1857 revolt, this Act imposed licensing restrictions.
  • Registration Act, 1867: This replaced Metcalfe’s Act of 1835 and was of a regulatory, not restrictive, nature. As per the Act, every book/ newspaper was required to print the name of the printer and the publisher and the place of the publication; and a copy was to be submitted to the local government within one month of the publication of a book.

Struggle by Early Nationalists to Secure Press Freedom

  • Right from the early nineteenth century, defense of civil liberties, including the freedom of the press, had been high on the nationalist agenda.
  • As early as 1824, Raja Rammohan Roy had protested against a resolution restricting the freedom of the press.
  • The early phase of the nationalist movement from around 1870 to 1918 focused more on political propaganda and education, formation and propagation of nationalist ideology and arousing, training, mobilization, and consolidation of public opinion, than on mass agitation or active mobilization of masses through open meetings.
  • For this purpose, the press proved a crucial tool in the hands of the nationalists. The Indian National Congress in its early days relied solely on the press to propagate its resolutions and proceedings.
  • Many newspapers emerged during these years under distinguished and fearless journalists.
  • These included The Hindu and Swadesamitran under G. Subramaniya Aiyar, The Bengalee under Surendranath Banerjea, Voice of India under Dadabhai Naoroji, Amrita Bazar Patrika under Sisir Kumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh, Indian Mirror under N.N. Sen, Kesari (in Marathi) and Mahratta (in English) under Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sudharak under Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and Hindustan and Advocate under G.P. Verma. Other main newspapers included Tribune and Akbar-i-am in Punjab, Gujarati, Indu Prakash, Dhyan Prakash and Kal in Bombay and Som Prakash, Banganivasi and Sadharani in Bengal.
  • The national movement, from its very beginning, stood for the freedom of the press.
  • The Indian newspapers became highly critical of Lord Lytton’s administration especially regarding its inhuman treatment of victims of the famine of 1876-77.
  • The Government struck back with the Vernacular Press Act, 1878.

The Vernacular Press Act

  • Objective: Designed to better control’ the vernacular press and effectively punish and repress seditious writing.
  • The district magistrate was empowered to call upon the printer and publisher of any vernacular newspaper to enter into a bond with the government undertaking not to cause disaffection against the government or antipathy between persons of different religions, caste, race through published material.
  • The printer and publisher could also be required to deposit security which could be forfeited if the regulation were contravened, and press equipment could be seized if the offense re-occurred.
  • The magistrate’s action was final and no appeal could be made in a court of law.
  • A vernacular newspaper could get an exemption from the operation of the Act by submitting proofs to a government censor.
  • The Act came to be nicknamed ‘the gagging Act”. The worst features of this Act were—(i) discrimination between English and vernacular press, (ii) no right of appeal
  • In 1883, Surendranath Banerjea became the first Indian journalist to be imprisoned.

Newspaper (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908

  • Aimed against Extremist nationalist activity, the Act empowered the magistrates to confiscate press property that published objectionable material likely to cause incitement to murder/ acts of violence.

Indian Press Act, 1910

  • This Act revived the worst features of the Vernacular Press Act – local government was empowered to demand security at registration from the printer/publisher and forfeit/deregister if it was an offending newspaper, and the printer of a newspaper was required to submit two copies of each issue to local government free of charge.
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10 months ago

It will be useful if it is being updated regularly. Thank You!

Last edited 10 months ago by Vijayaraghavan SS


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