. What did the spread of print culture in the nineteenth century India mean to:
b. The poor
Ans: (a) Women: Women became as important as readers and writers. Reading habits improved among them. With an increase in literacy, women took great interest in reading and writing. Many journals started emphasizing the importance of women’s education. Many magazines and books were especially published for women. The print culture gave women some amount of freedom to read and develop their own views on various issues, especially those related to women.
(b) The Poor: As the literacy rate improved in Europe as well as in India, printed material, especially for entertainment, began to reach even the poor. In England ‘penny magazines’ were carried by peddlers and sold for a penny, so that even poor people could buy them. Those who could not read could listen to the stories and folklore. These stories and folklore could be read out to them by others. Books could be hired on a nominal fee from some book owners. Even in India, very cheap small books were brought to the market in 19th century Madras towns, which allowed poor people to have access to print culture.
(c) Reformers: Reformers used newspapers, journals and books to highlight the social evils prevailing in the society. Raja Ram Mohan Roy published the ‘Sambad Kaumudi’ to highlight the plight of widows. 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 were treated unjustly by the menfolk they served.
- Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example from Europe and one from India
- Why did some people in the eighteenth century Europe think that culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism
- Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for the liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association