06 August 2019
Bhubaneswar: Students and the faculty members of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal celebrated Odia Journalism Day on Monday with focus on role of Indian language newspapers in India's Independence struggle.
In his opening remark, Dr Mrinal Chatterjee, Regional Director, IIMC, Dhenkanal, said, “First Odia language newspaper, Utkal Dipika, was published on 4 August 1866. This day is celebrated as the Odia Journalism Day. Its founder-editor Gaurishankar Ray was a visionary. He could see things ahead of his time. This newspaper had an important role in the Indian freedom movement. It has been published for about 70 years."
To mark this occasion the students of Odia Journalism course also planted trees on the campus. They also attended a special lecture by academician and author Subir Ghosh.
Ghosh emphasised on the twin roles - awakening the people against British misrule and social reforms - the language newspapers played.
“British were the common enemy of all the Indian language newspapers published during the pre-independent period. The news against the misrule of the British used to be published regularly in these newspapers. From Raja Rammohan Ray to Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bhupendra Nath Dutta, Gaurishankar Roy, Gopabandhu Das, Bal Gangadhar Tilak to Mahatma Gandhi – all of them had openly challenged the British government and its misrule through their respective newspapers,” said Subir Ghosh.
Citing the example of Indigo Rebellion, he mentioned how British planters forced the Indian farmers to grow indigo in place of food crops. While the British planters looked at the profit out of the indigo plantation, there was an uprising among the oppressed farmers of West Bengal, Bihar and some parts of Odisha. Rather than going to the police, some farmers had resorted to the newspapers.
He also mentioned how the Indian language press played its role in social reforms as editors like Raja Rammohan Roy used his newspapers to ban the custom of Sati and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar worked hard through Somprakash, the newspaper he edited, to bring change in the orthodox society after the enactment of Hindu Widow Remarriage Act 1856.
“Regional language newspapers were more emotionally connected to the freedom struggle than the English language newspapers,” concluded Chatterjee.