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Print Culture and The Modern World ‌ ‌Class‌ ‌10‌ ‌History‌ Explanation, ‌‌Question‌ ‌and‌ ‌Answers‌

Print Culture and The Modern World of CBSE‌ ‌Class‌ ‌10‌ ‌History‌ ‌Chapter‌ 5 ‌‌with detailed‌ ‌‌explanation‌‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌chapter‌ 'Print Culture and The Modern World ' ‌‌ ‌along‌ ‌with‌ ‌question‌ ‌answers.‌ ‌Given‌ ‌here‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌complete‌ ‌explanation‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌lesson,‌ ‌along‌ ‌with‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌exercises,‌ ‌‌Question‌ ‌and‌ ‌Answers‌‌ ‌given‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌back‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌lesson.‌ ‌

Class‌ ‌10‌ ‌History‌ ‌Chapter‌ ‌5‌ ‌-‌ Print Culture and The Modern World

 

print culture and the modern world

 

By Puneet Kaur

Today when we look around, we find ourselves surrounded by the printed matter. Whether they are books, journals, newspapers, magazines, prints of famous paintings, advertisements etc. All these things are printed material. So, we can say that now a days it is hard to imagine a world without printing.

But do we know the history of printing? Or do we have any idea how the printing has contributed in shaping our world?

Well in this chapter we will talk about the history of printing, its journey from East Asia to Europe and India and we will also study the impact of print and spread of it's technology on our lives.

 

1. The First Printed Books

 

the first printed books

 

Source: NCERT

When we talk about the earliest kind of printing technology, this idea takes us to China, Japan and Korea, which were the places of origin of printing technology.

From AD 594, The printing of books began in China. The technique of rubbing paper was used to print the books. Later on inked surface woodblocks came into use. As it was difficult to print both sides of a sheet during those days, therefore, the traditional Chinese ‘accordion book’ was folded and stitched at the side. The other way of writing books was to duplicate the matter with great accuracy, which was done by the calligraphers. Superbly skilled craftsmen could duplicate, with remarkable accuracy, the beauty of calligraphy.

For a very long time, China was the major producer of the printed material. It was so, because China was one such imperial state that had a huge number of bureaucrats. For the recruitment of these bureaucrats China used to conduct a civil services examination. So, a large number of books were printed under the sponsorship of imperial state which could serve the aspirants who wanted to appear for the examination.

An increase in the number of printed books was seen during the sixteenth century. It was so, because the number of candidates for such examination had increased tremendously.

By the seventeenth century, the use of print began to diversify. It was no longer used only by the students but also by various other groups. For instance, merchants started using the print in order to collect the trade information and readers started using it as a leisure activity.

The new readers started preferring books on fiction, poetry, autobiography etc. Even rich women who had the habit of reading also began writing and publishing poetry and plays. Wives of scholars’ officials published their works and courtesans wrote about their own lives.

All this led to the import of technology into China which was the western printing techniques and mechanical presses. Soon Shanghai became the hub of the new print culture that catered the western style schools. So, this time period show a shift from hand printing to mechanical printing in China.

So, now we know how printing began in China but now we will talk about Japan

 

Print in Japan

Around AD 768-770 the hand printing technology began in Japan. This technique was brought into Japan by the Buddhist missionaries from China. The oldest printed book in Japan was Buddhist Diamond Sutra which was printed in AD 868. It had six sheets of test and woodcut illustrations. Soon printing technique began to be used for printing pictures on textiles, playing cards and paper money. The usage of printing technique is also evident in medieval Japan because of the printing of large number of poems and prose. Books were cheap and abundant.

Later on a new idea of printing came into being. It was printing of the visual materials. In the late eighteenth century, Edo urban city now known as Tokyo became a flourishing centre of the visual printing. The paintings consist of artists, courtesans, teahouse gatherings etc. Libraries were often full of books having hand printed material of various types for example books on women, musical instruments, calculations, tea ceremonies, cooking, etc.

Till now we have read about how printing began in Asia, especially in China and Japan. Now we will see how it came into Europe.

 

2. Print Comes to Europe

 

marco polo

marco polo

Europe was one of the importers of silk and spices from China. All these goods used to enter Europe through silk route. The very silk route made the way for Chinese paper to enter into Europe. It was paper that made the production of manuscripts possible. In 1295 a great explorer Marco Polo who had spent years in exploring China brought with him the woodblock printing technique to Europe from China. With this the woodblock printing began in Italy too. This technology spread to other parts of Europe too. Merchants and students in the University towns started buying the cheaper copy prints for their use. But still there were some elites who did not prefer the printed material as they considered it cheap and vulgar. For them editions were still written on the animal skin (Vellum) which were very expensive.

As the demand for books was increasing day by day, therefore, the booksellers started exporting books to various other parts of Europe. Book fairs were organized at different places. The booksellers also started production of handwritten books in a different way so as to meet the growing demand of books. Scribes which were earlier employed by rich people only were now being employed by the booksellers to write editions for them. It is evident with the fact that around 50 scribes were engaged by the single bookseller only.

But soon it was found that handwritten manuscripts could not meet the growing demand of the books. Copying was not only laborious and time consuming but expensive too. So, now there was a need for something which could help in meeting up the demand and one, which should be less costly. Therefore, woodblock printing became a widely used printing technique in Europe. Soon the technique was also used in printing playing cards, printing textiles and also in printing of religious pictures with simple brief texts.

As the demand was growing every other day, this led to the dire need of a new technique which was faster and cheaper. This was possible only if some invention in this area was done. The breakthrough occurred with the invention of the printing press in 1430s by Johann Gutenberg in Germany.

So, now we will read about Johann Gutenberg and his printing press.

 

Gutenberg and the printing press

 

gutenberg

 

Gutenberg was a merchant’s son who had lived on a large agricultural estate since his childhood. From his childhood he had seen wine and olive presses. As he had learnt the art of polishing stones so he grew up to be a master goldsmith who could create lead moulds used for making trinkets. Gutenberg with his creativity used olive press to make a printing press, he used moulds in order to cast the metal types for the letters of the alphabet. By 1448 Gutenberg improved the system of his invention. The first book he printed was the Bible. He with his invention was able to produce 180 copies of the Bible in three years. This was a fast production method during those times.

Though the new technology was fast but it could not replace the old way of printing. In fact, printed books were nothing but the resemblance of the handwritten manuscripts. The metal letters were imitated. Borders were illuminated by hand and illustrations were painted. There were few editions which were kept exclusively for the rich readers. The specialty of these books were, the blank columns left for the painting to be done as per the choice of the readers. The readers could choose the design and decide even on the painting school for painting the illustrations.

The time period of1450-1550 saw a set up of various printing presses in most countries of Europe. The Germans started travelling to other countries to search for work and help other people in starting up the new presses. As the number of printing presses was increasing, this led to the increase in the production of books. The second half of the 15th century saw the production of 20 million copies of printed books that overtook the European market. This number later went up to 200 million copies in the 16th century.

This shift of printing from hand to mechanical brought the print revolution.

 

3. The Print Revolution and Its Impact

When we talk about print revolution, it doesn’t mean that we are talking about a new technique or the increase in the production of books. Here we talk about the impact of print revolution on the lives of people and how it changed and influenced the perception of people. To understand this, let’s have a look at this.

 

A New Reading Public

 

reading public

The printing press brought a new reading public. It was so because it reduced the cost of books. Earlier producing a book was laborious and costly task. But with the invention of new techniques the books could be produced in large numbers and at a cheaper price. This led to the flooding of books in the market making it possible to reach the large number of readers.

Easy reach of the books led to the growth of reading culture. In olden times, it was meant only for elites. Common people lived in a world of oral culture. When we talk about oral culture this means that they used to hear sacred texts read out, ballads were recited and folk tales were narrated. So, basically knowledge was transferred to them orally. It was so because the books being produced were not only costly but few in numbers. But soon the situation change, now the books were easily available which turned the public from hearing to reading public.

The transition was not so simple. As we know that books could be read only by the literates and large number of population was illiterate, therefore, publishers found out a new way. They started producing books which had popular folk tales, ballads etc. These books had interesting pictures. All this was done to arouse the curiosity of the listeners of the book. These books were read out at gatherings in the villages or in taverns in towns.

So, here we can say that oral culture and print culture got intermingled here.

Though print technique had brought material to be read for the large number of people it also brought an idea of publishing your own thinking and ideas about something. People soon began to print what they feel about the old philosophies and practices. Let’s check this.

 

Religious Debates and the Fear of Print

Print made it possible to circulate ideas to a wide range of people. All this led to a new world of debate and discussion. Those who had a different view other than what established authorities had could now print their ideas and circulate them with the help of print. The printed material started aiding them by persuading people to think differently. This proved important in different spheres of life.

The print technology and printed books were not appreciated by everyone. Some people had their fears in connection with the printed books. They had this fear that as printed books had a wider circulation this can prove harmful if some irreligious or rebellious material is printed for the readers. So, people from groups such as the religious authorities, monarchs, writers and artists were not in favor of the printed books. It was so because they thought that this could destroy our valuable literature and lead to the increase of rebellious and irreligious thoughts.

To understand this let us consider the implication of this in one sphere of life i.e. religion.

In 1517, Martin Luther a religious reformer wrote 95 theses criticizing some of the rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. He pasted a printed copy of this on the door of the Wittenberg church. He Challenged the Church to debate on this. His writings were immediately reproduced and circulated which were widely read. All this led to a division within the Church and this lead to the beginning of Protestant reformation.

The testament of Luther sold around 5000 copies within few weeks and a second edition appeared within three months. Luther was thankful to the technique of printing as it led to the coming of a new intellectual atmosphere. So, now that we know how people got the chance to show their disagreement to the popular beliefs. Let us see how it further continued on the same line.

 

Print and Dissent

The printing of popular religious literature sometimes led to the distinctive interpretation of religion by the various individuals. Take for example Menocchio, a miller in Italy interpreted the Bible in his own way and formulated a view of God and Creation of Roman Catholic Church, which was different from the point of view of the Church. He was then severely punished and executed for being heretical in his ideas. The word heretical is used for the person whose beliefs differ from the beliefs of Catholic Church. Later on a step was taken by the Roman church of maintaining an index of prohibited books from 1558 in order to curb down the publishing of books which were against the Church beliefs.

As print technology had made it easier to publish a large number of books in a very short span of time, this resulted in the inculcation of the habit of reading among the people. Let’s look at this.

 

4. The Reading Mania

 

reading public

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the literacy rate went up in most parts of Europe. It was so because the Churches had begun to set up schools in villages which helped in imparting education to peasants and artisans. This led to an increase in the literacy rates in Europe which one could easily sense with the figures that during the eighteenth century, the literacy rates were between 60 to 80 percent. As more and more people were getting educated this led to the emergence of a new mania known as reading mania among the people.

As people wanted to read more and more so the publishers started printing books of various types in order to target new audiences. Booksellers use employ pedlars who would take books to various villages and sell them. They also started producing ritual calendars along with ballads and folktales. In England penny chapbooks were sold by the Chapmen for a penny. Similarly Biliotheque Bleue a small low priced book printed on poor quality paper began to be sold in France. There were a number of books which were being published in various sizes and with various purposes such as books on romances and histories to serve the purpose of the reader.

Soon the printing of newspapers and journals began that carry news of wars and trade and other developments too.

Just like that, ideas of scientists and philosophers could also reach the common people through print. Various new and old scientific ideas, diagrams and maps started being published for the readers. Now the ideas of famous scientists such as Issac Newton or the thinkers like Thomas Paine, Jean Jacques Rousseau were now widely printed and read. Thus we can say that ideas about science and reason found their way into popular literature.

So, by the mid eighteenth century it became a common conviction that books are the best medium to spread progress and enlightenment. People start believing that books can bring a positive change to the world.

Louise Sebastian Mercier ,a novelist in France declared that print is the most powerful engine of progress.

Till now we have studied how print aided in spreading scientific ideas and knowledge to different groups of societies. Now we will study how it played an important role in the French Revolution.

 

Print Culture and the French Revolution

Historians say that it was print culture that leads to the French Revolution. For this they put forward three types of arguments. Let’s have a look at this.

First: print made the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers and collectively, their writings provided a critical commentary on tradition, superstition popular among the public. As these writers argued for the rule of reason rather than custom, people began to follow them. These writers not only questioned the authority of Church but also queried the social order based on tradition. Writers such as Voltaire and Rousseau made people think in different ways, this led the public to question and criticize the prevailing practices and tradition.

Second: The second argument is that print created a new culture of debate and dialogue. All those values, norms and practices which were being followed from years were now being questioned. People started evaluating the social norms. The public became aware of the power of reason and question. One can say that a social revolution began to occur.

Third: By 1780s it was seen that literature began to mock the royalty and their morality. They started questioning about the morality and responsibility of the royalty. Various cartoons and caricatures were made to criticize the royalty for leading a luxurious life without even caring for the common people who were bearing hardships. 

So, here we can say that print was for sure changing the way people thought. But here also one should keep in mind that readers were not only reading Rousseau or Voltaire but they were also reading what church and monarchy had to say. Therefore, it was the public’s opinion, whom they wanted to favor or whom they wanted to reject. This means that print did influence the thinking of people still there were some other ideas too which were occupying the minds of people.

So, now we will talk about the nineteenth century and the increase in the readership.

 

5. The Nineteenth Century

As literacy rate grew in the nineteenth century in Europe, which resulted in the increase in the number of readers among children, women and workers.

 

Children, Women and Workers

During the 19th century, primary education became compulsory. Now a new set of readers, the children became an important category. Publishing industries started printing textbooks for them, later on children’s press was set up in France in 1857. This press published books fairy and folk tales for children. Grimm Brothers in Germany also collected various folk tales from peasants and compiled them into a book. During those days it was necessary to remove all objectionable content from the book which was not suitable for kids or elites. So, we can say that print began to record old tales and also began to change them a bit.

Later on women also became important readers. Penny Books were published especially for them. Soon manuals on proper behavior and housekeeping began to be printed for them. When novels began to be written in the nineteenth century, women were one of the important readers. Later on many women writers such as Jane Austen, Bronte Sisters, George Eliot etc became famous with their writings and defined women as strong person who had determination and the power to think.

 

women writers

It was also seen during this time period that lending libraries became an important place for educating white collar workers, artisans and middle class people. After the day’s work was over, they could come in the libraries to devote some time for self improvement by writing political tracts and autobiographies.

Later on some more innovations were seen in the nineteenth century.

 

Further innovations

During the nineteenth century various innovations and improvements in printing technology were seen. By the mid nineteenth century Richard M. Hoe of New York improved the power driven cylindrical press. This machine could print 8000 sheets per hour. This type of printing ability was very important for printing newspapers.  Later the offset press was developed which had the ability to print up to six colors at a time. In the twentieth century electrically operated presses began their operations. Some more development were made that led to the improvement in the feeding paper, plates, paper reels etc. Various forms of developments transformed the look of printed texts.

In order to sell their books, publishers tried out new ways such as the Shilling Series which were basically the cheap books published in England during the 1920s. Some other innovations were dust cover or the book jacket. To sustain the great depression of 1930s publishes made cheap paperback editions.

Now we know how print began and improved in various parts of Europe. Now we will read how print began in India.

 

6. India and the World of Print

So, now we will see how print began in India but before this we must know how it used to be before the age of print in India.

 

Manuscripts before the age of Print

Before the age of print, India had an old and rich tradition of writing manuscripts in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and various other vernacular languages. These manuscripts were written on either palm leaves or the handmade paper. They were then placed between wooden covers or were sewn together in order to preserve them.

Manuscripts were generally expensive and it was hard to preserve them for a long time. They were not even legible because the scripts were written in different styles. So, manuscripts were not widely used. Before the colonization of India, a wide network of primary schools was developed in Bengal but the students in these schools never read any text. They only learnt to write. The system followed in these schools was that teachers used to dictate some portions of books or texts and students had to write that. So, we can say that they became literate without ever reading any text.

So, now we know how books were written before the print technology came into India. Let’s see how print came to India.

 

Print comes to India  

When we talk about how printing began in India. The answer is that the printing press first came to Goa with the Portuguese missionaries in mid sixteenth century. Jesuit priests learnt Konkani and began to print in Konkani. By 1674, around 50 books were printed in the Konkani and Kanara languages. Catholic priests began printing Tamil books in 1579 at Cochin and in 1713 the first Malayalam book in India was printed. Dutch protestant missionaries printed 32 Tamil texts.

IN 1780, James Augustus Hickey started with the edit of the Bengali Gazette. It was a weekly magazine. This magazine described itself as a commercial paper open to all, but influenced by none. Hickey’s magazine was independent from colonial influence. He used to publish advertisements including the import and sale of slaves. But he also published a lot of gossip about the Company’s senior officials in India. To control this, Governor –General Warren  Hastings started sanctioning newspapers and control the flow of information that could damage the image of colonial government. Later on various Indians newspapers also began to print by the Indians. The first to appear was Bengal Gazette which was a weekly newspaper by Gangadhar Bhattacharya who was close to Rammohun Roy.

As printing became common and allowed people to publish their thoughts and ideas, it led to the beginning or public debates. Let’s see how this happened

 

7. Religious Reform and Public Debates

Early 19th century is seen as a beginning of various debates and religious issues. Different groups began confronting about the changes that were taking place in society during the colonial period. People began criticizing the existing practices and started campaigning against them. Whereas there were some who were against the reformers. Print helped in sharing their thoughts and ideas with the public. A wider public could now participate in these public discussions and express their views through the print technology.

This time period was of intense controversies. People began to challenge Hindu orthodoxy related with widow immolation, monotheism, Brahmanical priesthood and idolatry. In Bengal various newspapers began with circulating various types of arguments. To reach a wider audience, the thoughts and ideas of reformers were printed in everyday language. Rammohan Roy began publishing the Sambad kaumudi from 1821 on the other side Samachar Chandrika  was published by Hindu orthodoxy to oppose his opinions. Later on two Persian newspapers were published named Jam-I Jahan Nama and Shamsul Akhbar. Even a Gujarati newspaper, the Bombay Samachar made its appearance in the same year.

In north India Ulama were worried about the collapse of Muslim dynasties. They feared that the colonial rule will try to change the Muslim personal laws. They could have also tried to convert the Muslims. Such things led to the printing of Holy Scriptures by using cheap Lithographic presses. Soon the printing of religious newspapers and tracts in Urdu began in India. The Deoband Seminary which was founded in 1867, began publishing Fatwas to advise Muslim readers how to conduct themselves in their everyday lives and explaining various Islamic doctrines. So, during nineteenth century a number of Muslim sects published their work on interpretation of faith with the aim of increasing their following and countering their opponents.

On the other hand among Hindus, print technology encouraged the reading of religious texts in the vernacular languages. In 1810 a first print of Ramcharitmanas written  by Tulsidas was released in Calcutta. Later on in mid nineteenth century there was a flood of cheap lithographic books in the north Indian markets.  From the 1880s Naval Kishore Press at Lucknow and the Shri Venkateshwar press in Bombay began publishing a large number of religious texts in vernaculars. As these books could be purchased from various places.They could also be read out to large groups of illiterate men and women. Religious texts therefore reached to the wider circle of public.  Print not only stimulates the printed conflicted opinions among different communities but it also helped in bringing the communities together.

Till now we have read that printing was used as a tool to produce the work which could allow you to share your ideas on the social issues and social evils but that doesn’t mean that its usage was limited only to publish matters related to the social issue only soon it changed a bit as per the readers choice.

 

8. New Forms of Publication

Printing created a base for new kinds of writing. As the number of readers was increasing day by day, they started expecting something which could reflect their daily lives, experiences, emotions etc. Well this need was facilitated by the novel, a literary firm in Europe. It soon acquired as per the Indian form and style. This introduced Indian readers with a world of experiences and diversity of human lives.

Very soon some new forms of literature entered into the world of reading such as lyrics, short stories, essays related to social and political matters. All such literary content laid its emphasis on human lives.

By the end of the nineteenth century, a new change was seen that was production of images. With the setting up of large number of printing presses in India creating a multiple copies of visual images became easy. Raja Ravi Varma one of the famous Indian painters began producing his images for mass circulation. Even poor wood engravers began setting up shops near the letterpresses. They were then employed by the print shops. The cheap prints and calendars were even bought by the poor to decorate the walls of their houses. These prints later on began to shape the popular ideas about modernity and tradition.

By the 1870s cartoons and caricatures were being used by the journals in order to comment on social issues. Even these cartoons were sometimes used to oppose those educated Indians who favor western tastes and clothes while others were used to depict the fear of social change. Similarly there were some cartoons which were used to express the criticism against the imperial rule.

As printing was putting impact on the lives of various social groups and people, so, it also brought some change in the lives of women in India. Let’s see how this happened.

 

Women and Print

women and print

As feelings of women began to publish in various writings this arose interest of women and they began to read. Some liberal husbands and fathers began educating women in their homes or some even allowed them to go to schools. All this happened because in many of the city schools for girls were being set up by the authorities. Many journals even began to publish writings of women. They laid stress on the education of women and its importance. Sometimes reading matter and syllabus was also attached in order to help those who were carrying their studies from home.

But here also there were some contradictions, there were some conservative Hindus who believed that educated girls became widow whereas Muslims feared that educated women would be corrupted if they read Urdu romances. But there were some rebel women who defied such prohibitions. There is one instance where a Muslim girl from North India secretly learnt to read and write in Urdu. Her family wanted her to read only the Arabic Quran which was difficult for her to understand so she stressed on learning her own language. On the other hand in East Bengal Rashsundari Debi a young married girl from an orthodox family began learning from her kitchen. Later Rashsundari wrote an autobiography Amar Jiban which was published in 1876.

Social reforms and novels had already created a sort of interest in women’s lives and emotions. This also led to a curiosity among people as to what they want to say about their lives. A few Bengali women like Kailashbashini debi wrote books on how women had to face hardships by getting confined in their homes, doing all the domestic chores and how they were ill treated by the other family members. In the 1880s Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai of Maharashtra wrote books on the miserable lives of upper caste Hindu women, especially for widows. Even a woman in a Tamil Novel expressed how she received happiness from reading books.

Among various languages such as Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Hindi, it was Hindi printing that began seriously from the 1870s before this other languages except Hindi had developed. Most of the time, it was seen that large segments were generally devoted to the education of women. In the early twentieth century a new trend began, It was the publication of journals written for and sometimes edited by women. These journals used to have content related to women’s education, widowhood, widow remarriage and the national movement. Sometimes there were topics related to fashion and entertainment that included short stories and novels.

Similar type of literature was also seen in Punjab. Here also publishers started printing books which taught women how to be obedient wives.  Some of such publishers were Ram Chaddha who published Istri Dharam Vichar and the other was the Khalsa Tract society. These books were cheap and were in the form of dialogues.

In Bengal, Battala a central area in Calcutta was popular for printing popular books. They used to publish cheap editions of religious tracts and scriptures. By the late nineteenth century, books could be seen with illustrations of woodcuts and colored lithographs. Pedlars began selling these books in the households of Bengal enabling women to read them in their free time.

Till now we have seen the connection between print and women. Now we will discuss about the relation between print and the poor

 

Print and the Poor People  

In Madras small books which were cheap in price began to be sold in the markets so that it becomes easy for poor to buy them. Even public libraries were also setup in towns, cities and villages. This enabled everyone including poor to read the books.

From the late nineteenth century various people began to write on the social and caste discrimination in their books. Jyotiba Phule, who is famous as Maratha pioneer of ‘low caste’ protest movement wrote about the bearings of low caste in his famous book ‘ghulamgiri’ (1871). In the twentieth century some more writers such as B.R Ambedkar in Maharashtra and E.V Ramaswamy Naicker in Madras began to write powerfully on caste. All such content was then read by a large number of people in India.

poor people

Later on many mill and factory workers who were fed up of the adversities of their lives also began to write. Some of them, who were literate, began writing about the hardships that were borne by them. One  such was Kashibaba of Kanpur who published Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal in 1938 and later on a collection of poems was published in a book known as Sachi Kavitayan . It was a set of poems written by Sudarshan Chakr a pen name used by one mill worker. By the 1930s Bangalore cotton mill workers set up libraries to educate themselves following the footsteps of Bombay mill workers. These libraries were generally sponsored by social reformers who wanted to educate these mill workers and wanted to propagate the message of nationalism.

As print became a popular tool to oppose the colonial government, So the Britishers began to control print by putting censorship laws. How did this happen? Let’s see.

 

9. Print and Censorship

When we talk about the time period before 1798, The East India Company was not too concerned about the censorship of print. In its early attempts of censorship, The company controlled the printed matter of those Englishmen in India who opposed the misrule of Company. The company was more worried about any possibility of losing its monopoly to trade in India.

In the 1820s, the Calcutta Supreme court passed some regulations which directed the Company to control the freedom of the press. Only those newspapers were supported by the Company that favored the British rule. But in 1835, Governor General William Bentinck had to revise press laws due to the petitions filed by various English and Vernacular newspapers. Thomas Maculay also laid some new rules in order to restore back the earlier freedom of press.

The revolt of 1857 changed the whole scenario. Colonial government began to control all the vernacular press. In 1878, Vernacular press Act was passed in order to control all the content being published by these presses. From now onwards the government began to keep regular watch on what was being published. If a press was found guilty, it was warned and if it did not comply with the warning then the press was seized and machinery was confiscated.

Although repressive measures were being used still it did not stop the growing number of nationalist newspapers in India. These newspapers opposed the colonial rule and encouraged national activities in India. All this led to a new form of militant protest. When Punjab revolutionaries were deported in 1907, Balgangadhar included this in his newspaper Kesari. The British government arrested him in 1908 for writing such articles. This led to widespread protest all over India.

 

Print Culture and The Modern World - NCERT Book Question and Answers

Q1- Give reasons for the following:

a) Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295?

Ans- Wood block print was a technique of printing which was developed in China. It came to Europe in 1295 with an explorer named Marco Polo. He after many years of his exploration in China returned to Italy with this form of print technique.

b)  Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of it?

Ans- Martin Luther wrote 95 theses that opposed the Roman Catholic Church and invited them for a debate. His theses were published in large numbers by the print technique which was made accessible to a large number of people. This led to division with the church and people begin to reason the prevailing practices of church. All this was not possible without the help of printing. This was the main reason why Luther supported for print technology.

c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an index of Prohibited books from the mid sixteenth century?

Ans: During the mid sixteenth century, people began interpreting of god as per their own imagination and thinking. Some other also began to criticize the practices of Roman Catholic Church and began questioning them. All this result into the making of a list of banned books by the Church.

d) Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association?

Ans: Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press and freedom of association because these three were the most essential elements of freedom for any of the individual.

 

2. Write short notes to show what you know about:

a) The Gutenberg Press

Ans: Johann Gutenberg was the first person who took an idea from olive and wine presses to form a press which could print. So by 1448 he perfected the system and began printing. His first print was Bible. In the time span of 3 year she produced 180 copies of Bible which was a fast production method through printing during that time.

b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book

Ans: Erasmus was a Latin Scholar who was also a Catholic reformer. He was against the printed books because he had a view that these books lack the value and were mainly scandalous and irreligious in nature.

c) Vernacular Press Act:

Ans: Vernacular press act was passed in 1878. It was based on the Irish Press laws model. This law gave right to the government to control the content of the newspapers. If the government found any newspaper guilty of printing any material which was against the colonial government then it had the right to seize it and confiscate its printing machinery.

 

3. What did the spread of print culture in nineteenth century India mean to:

a) Women

Ans: The spread of print culture helped women to narrate their hardships and the atrocities they had to bear in the orthodox families be it Hindu or Muslim. Print culture encouraged them to study and contribute in their social upliftment by opposing various social evils like sati pratha or by encouraging the widow remarriage etc. The print not only provides women with content to read but also provided India with various women writers such Rashasundari Debi, Pandita Ramabai etc.

b) The Poor

Ans: Printing allowed to cut down the cost of producing a book. Now it was easier to produce cheap priced books which could be easily purchased by the poor. This enabled them to read various books. It also encouraged them to write about their hardships. For example Kashibaba a poor mill worker wrote about the difficulties of mill workers in his book chote aur Bade ka Sawal.

c) Reformers

Ans: The Indian Reformers take print technique as a tool to oppose the orthodox practices which was nothing but a social evil. They used it to spread message on the social evils such as caste discrimination, widow immolation, child marriage, Brahmanical priesthood etc. All these articles were one of the main reasons to bring change in our society. Various writers wrote books to spread the message of social equality for example Jyotiba Phule wrote “Ghulamgiri.