Question: Mention some of the innovations which have improved the printing technology after the 17th century.
Highlight any three innovations which have improved the printing technology from 19th century on wards.
Answer: Invention which improved the printing technology after 17th century are listed below:
- Metal Press: In the 19th century, there were a series of innovations in the printing technology. Now the press was made out of metal.
- Rotary Printing Press: Richard March Hoe, an American inventor designed and improved the printing press. He invented the Rotary Printing Press, a design much faster than the old flat-bed printing press. The new press could print about 8,000 sheets per hour. The new press was very useful for printing newspapers.
- Offset Press: In the late nineteenth century, the offset press was developed which could print up to six colors at the same time.
- Electrically Operated Presses: From the turn of the twentieth century, electrically operated presses accelerated printing operations. A series of many other developments followed. Methods of feeding paper improved, the quality of plates became better, automatic paper reels and photoelectric control of the colour register were introduced.
The accumulation of several individual mechanical improvements transformed the appearance of the printed texts.
Question: “Oral culture and print culture were complimentary to each other”. Justify the statement with any three suitable arguments.
- Earlier, reading was restricted to the elites. Common people lived in a world of oral culture.
- With the printing press, books could reach out to wider sections of society. If earlier, there was a hearing public, now a reading public came into being.
- Publishers had to keep in mind the wider reach of the printed books. Even those who did not read, could enjoy listening to the books being read out.
- So, printers began publishing popular ballads and folk tales and such books would be profusely illustrated with pictures. These were then sung and recited at gatherings in villages and in taverns in towns.
Question: How did the oral culture enter print and how was the printed material transmitted orally?Explain with suitable examples.
How did the printers manage to attract the people, largely illiterate, towards, printed books?
- Oral culture entered print in the following ways:
(i) Printers published popular ballads and folk tales.
(ii) Books were profusely illustrated with pictures.
- Printed material was transmitted orally in the following ways:
(i) These were sung at gatherings in villages, taverns and in towns.
(ii) They were recited in public gatherings. For example, Indian novelist Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay used to read out his novels to a gathering.
Question: Explain the role of print in the religious reforms in India.
- Debate over social issues: Print initiated an intense controversies between social and religious reformers and the Hindu orthodoxy over matters like widow immolation, monotheism, Brahmanical priesthood and idolatry. In Bengal, as the debate developed, tracts and newspapers proliferated, circulating a variety of arguments. To reach a wider audience, the ideas were printed in the everyday, spoken language of ordinary people.
- Ideas of Reformers: Print carried the ideas of social reformers to the common people. For example Sambad Kaumudl carried the ideas and philosophy of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
- Reforms in Muslims: In north India, the ulama were deeply anxious about the collapse of Muslim dynasties. They feared that colonial rulers would encourage conversion, change the Muslim personal laws. To counter this, they used cheap lithographic presses, published Persian and Urdu translations of holy scriptures, and printed religious newspapers and tracts. The Deoband Seminary, founded in 1867, published thousands upon thousands of fatwas telling Muslim readers how to conduct themselves in their everyday lives, and explaining the meanings of Islamic doctrines.
- Reforms in Hindus: Among Hindus, too, print encouraged the reading of religious texts, especially in the vernacular languages. The first printed edition of the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, a sixteenth- century text, came out from Calcutta in 1810.
Question: ‘Print not only stimulate the publication of conflicting opinions amongst communities, but it also connected communities and people in different parts of India.’ Explain.
How did print help connect communities and people in different parts of India?Explain with examples.
- Debate on religious, social and economic issues: From the early nineteenth century, there were serious debates on religious, social and economic issues. Different people had different opinions regarding the colonial society. Reformers offered a variety of new interpretations of the beliefs of different religions. There were many who criticized the existing practices and campaigned for reforms while others countered.
- Impact on debates: These debates were carried out openly in public and in print. Printed tracts and newspapers not only spread the new ideas, but they also shaped the nature of the debates.
- New ideas and clashes: A wider range of people could now participate in these public discussions and express their views. New ideas emerged through these clashes of opinions.
- Pan-Indian identities: Newspapers conveyed news from one place to another, creating pan-Indian identities. Newspapers reported on colonial misrule and encouraged nationalist activities.
- Print and depressed classes: From the 19th century, issue of caste discrimination began to be written. Jyotiba Phule, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, E. V. Ramaswamy wrote extensively on the depressed classes and provided the depressed classes a common platform.