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Print Culture And The Modern World: 10 SST

Question: How were ideas and information written before the age of print in India? How did the printing technique begin in India? Explain.
Or
Explain the role of missionaries in the growth of press in India.

Answer:

  1. India had a very rich and old tradition of handwritten manuscripts – in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, as well as in various vernacular languages. Manuscripts were copied on palm leaves or on handmade paper. Pages were sometimes beautifully illustrated. They would be either pressed between wooden covers or sewn together to ensure preservation.
  2. Manuscripts continued to be produced till well after the introduction of print, down to the late nineteenth century.
    Beginning (coming) of print technology in India.
    (i) The printing press first came to Goa with Portuguese missionaries in the mid-sixteenth century. Jesuit priests learnt Konkani and printed several tracts. By 1674, about 50 books had been printed in the Konkani and in Kanara languages.
    (ii)The Catholic priests printed the first Tamil book in 1579 at Cochin, and in 1713, the first Malayalam book was printed by them.
    (iii) By 1710, Dutch Protestant missionaries had printed 32 Tamil texts, many of them were translations of older works.

Question: How was die print used to spread the religious texts by various communities? Explain by giving examples.
Or
What was the main fear of the ‘Ulamas’? State any two steps taken by the ‘Ulamas’ to defend their religion?
Or
How did religious communities in India make use of printing technology to spread their ideas?Explain.

Answer:

  1. Print and the Muslims:
    (i) Ulemas and the print: In North India, the Ulemas, i.e., the religious heads of Muslims were deeply worried about the collapse of the Muslim dynasties. They feared that the colonial rulers would encourage conversion, and would change the Muslim personal laws. To counter this, they used cheap lithographic presses which published Persian and Urdu translations of the holy scriptures, and printed religious newspapers and tracts.
    (ii) Deoband Schools: The Deoband Seminary which was founded in 1867, published many fatwas making Muslim readers aware of the code of conduct to be followed in their everyday lives, and explained the meanings of Islamic doctrines.
    (iii) Various Muslim Sects: All through the nineteenth century, a number of Muslim sects and seminaries appeared, each with a different interpretation of faith. Each was keen on enlarging its followers and countering the influence of its opponents. The Urdu print helped them conduct these battles in public.
  2. Print and the Hindus:
    Among Hindus, too, print encouraged the readings of religious texts, especially in the vernacular languages.
    (i) The first printed edition of the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas came out from Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1810.
    (ii) In the mid-nineteenth century, cheap lithographic editions flooded the North Indian markets.
    (iii) From the 1880s, the Naval Kishore Press at Lucknow and the Shri Venkateshwar Press in Bombay published many religious texts in vernacular languages,
    (iv) The printed text was cheap, land portable. These could be easily carried by the people at any place and time. They could also be read out to large groups of illiterate men and women.
    (v) Religious texts and books started reaching a very wide circle of people, encouraging debates and controversies within and among different religions.

Question: Explain the impact of print culture on Indian women.
Or
Explain any three impact of printed books on women in India in the nineteenth century.

Answer:

  1. Women education: Writers started writing about the lives and feelings of women, and this increased the number of women readers. Women got interested in education, and many women schools and colleges were set up. Many journals started emphasizing the importance of women education.
  2. Women writers: In East Bengal, in the early nineteenth century, Rashsundari Debi, a young married girl wrote her autobiography, Amar Jiban (means ‘my life’) which was published in 1876.
    From the 1860s, many Bengali women writers like Kailashbashini Debi wrote books highlighting the experiences of women, about how women were imprisoned at home, kept in ignorance, forced to do hard domestic labour, and treated unjustly by the menfolk, they served. In the 1880s, in the present-day Maharashtra, Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai wrote with passionate anger about the miserable lives of the upper-caste Hindu women, especially the widows. The poor status of women was also expressed by the Tamil writers.
  3. Hindu writing and women: While Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Marathi print culture had developed earlier, Hindu printing began seriously only from the 1870s. Soon, a large section of it was devoted to the education of women.
  4. New journals: In the early 20th century, the journals written by women, became very popular in which women’s education, widowhood, widow remarriage, etc., were discussed. Some of them offered fashion lessons for women.
  5. Teachings for women: Ram Chaddha published Istri Dharam Vi char to teach women how to be obedient wives. The Khalsa Tract Society published cheap booklets with a similar message. Many of these were in the form of dialogues about the qualities of a good woman.

Question: Describe the issue of caste as taken by the novelists in India.

Answer:

  1. Jyotiba Phule, the Maratha pioneer of low caste protest movements, wrote about the injustices of the caste system in his Gulamgiri.
  2. In the twentieth century, B.R. Ambedkar in Maharashtra and E.V. Ramaswamy Naiker in Madras wrote on caste and their writings were read by people all over India.
  3. Local protest movements and sects also created a lot of popular journals and tracts criticizing ancient scriptures and envisioning a new and just future.
  4. Kashibaba, a Kanpur mill worker wrote Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal in 1938 to show the links between caste and class exploitation.
  5. The poems of Sudarshan Chakr were brought together and published in a collection called Sacchi Kavitayan.

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