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Growth of press in Assam under the British rule

Growth of press in Assam under the British rule

Growth of press in Assam under the British rule

The growth of educated intelligentsia led to new political and social ideas which were transferred to the masses through a new media of newspapers, journals etc. Newspapers were not published in Assam until much later. The newspapers published from Bengal at that time had issues/news relating to Assam.

In Assam the pioneers of printing press were the American Baptist Missionaries who set up the Baptist Mission Press at Sibsagar primarily for the publication of Christian literature. In 1846,they published Orunudoi,the first news magazine in Assamese language. Edited by Nathan Brown, Orunudoi indented to serve the duel purpose of filling the vaccum in Assamese journalism and supplementary reading material in schools. There were articles on contemporary events,history,geography,science etc.apart from stories and poems.

Orunudoi set the trend and others followed. The close of nineteenth century saw the appearance and disappearance of over a dozen newspapers and journals,both in English and Assamese in Assam. The Assam Bilasini was the first Assamese newspapaer published by an Assamese. Printed at the Dharma Prakash Press in Majuli, Assam Bilasini was the brainchild of Sri Sri Duttadev Goswami,the satradhikar of the Aauniati Satra.

Assam Mihir, the first weekly published from Gauhati, first in Bengali and later both in English and Bengali survived only a year due to lack of support. Assam Darpan, Goalpara Hitasadhini, Assam Dipika and Chandrodaya were some other publications which suffered the same fate. Papers like Mou, Assam News and Assam Bandhu,though short lived,played a significant role in providing news and views.

Assam News,edited by Hemchandra Barua was the first Anglo Assamese weekly. It was published from Gauhati and raised the standard of journalism in Assam. Its work was carried on by Assam Bandhu, an Assamese monthly edited by Gunabhiram Barua and published in Nagaon. Both these papers contributed immensely to the development of Assamese literature. Jonaki(1889-96) was published and edited by Chandra Kumar Agarwala. It brought about a period of literary awakening in the province.

Many other periodicals and newspapers were published like Bijuli, Usha, Banti, Bahi, The Advocate of Assam and The Times of Assam. Srihatta Mihir, Paridatshak and Silchar were Bengali newspapers published from Surma Valley.

The press in Assam thus played a vital role in creating awareness by not only highlighting the various problems of the province and suggesting remedies but also discussing political issues in an all India content

Kavyashree sharma
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