Gujarati Literature - Gujarati Journalism

Gujarati Journalism

As Gandhi’s birthplace and the scene of the celebrated salt march 1930, Gujarat generated a press even more influenced by nationalist causes than elsewhere. Gandhi himself started the magazine Navjivan in Gujarati at the time he broke into India’s national politics in 1919. Gujarat Samachar and Sandesh, the two great rivals of the 1990s, both originated during the struggle against the British: Gujarat Samachar in 1932 in the heat of Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement and Sandesh in 1923, immediately after his non-cooperation movement. The Bombay evening daily, Janmabhoomi ("Native Land"), carries under its masthead the slogan in Gujarati, ‘Mother and Motherland are greater than Heaven’. Founded in 1934, Janmabhoomi is part of the Saurashtra Trust, which publishes a variety of Gujarati newspapers and magazines in Bombay and Gujarat. These include one of the first business magazines in an Indian language, Vyapar, founded in 1948, and Kutchmitra (friend of Kutch), a daily published from the town of Bhuj since 1955, and which, the Trust claims, "Kutchhis, a large community of astute businessmen in Mumbai rest of India, make it a point to use ... as their link with their home state".

Until the creation of a separate state of Gujarat in 1960, the heart of Gujarati culture and politics was divided: Mumbai was as much a Gujarati centre as Ahmedabad. Indeed, in the early 1960s, the largest Gujarati daily newspaper continued to be published in Mumbai. Bombay Samachar, founded in 1822 and the oldest still-publishing newspaper in India, had a circulation of 51,000 in 1962, and its Mumbai rival, Janmabhoomi, 24,000. The two Ahmedabad dailies that came to dominate the Gujarati daily press, Gujarat Samachar and Sandesh, had circulations of 45,000 and 42,000, respectively. Once the state of Gujarat was created, however, the focus of Gujarati life turned increasingly towards Ahmedabad and the provincial towns of the new state. Education and administration in Gujarati grew, and with both, the number of potential readers of publications in Gujarati.

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