..Indian press seems to be in a state of infancy yet. Even the best Indian dailies have no representatives in the outside world except London. Very few have London correspondent, most of whom are non-Indians, The London letters of the Indian press are generally insipid, containing matters which becomes stale by the time those letters are published, Most of the letters do not contain anything which is not found i the Congress publication “India”. In England there are competent Indians who can serve as correspondents of the Indian papers., but the latter seem to have a certain prejudice against them. The fact is that the Indian papers cannot afford to pay for correspondents or contributions from abroad. A genuine, intimate and close study of current politics in freign countries involves a certain amount of expenditure which is beyond the means of those who ordinarily write for the Indian press from outside. The result is that deplorable ignorance which characterises the Indian papers about the true trend of foreign affairs and their bearing on Indian politics. The truth of matter is that the press in India cannot be developed without a much greater development of Indian Industries. The press and the trade are inseparable under modern conditions. It is business which maintains the press and not make the reading public. Big manufactures, developed industries, high class business alone can advertise on terms which make it possible for the newspapers to sell cheap and extend their circulation and influence. ..The limited circulation of the Indian newspapers is also due to general illiteracy which prevails in India...In India only 4 p.c of the population, if you take the figures together, can do so. So the circle of readers is necessarily small. Besides Indians have a vicious habit of reading books or papers purchased by others, even though they have the means to make their own purchases. The Indians have yet to learn that a writer is as much entitled to be compensated for this labour as any other class of workers; that literature cannot be developed in a country where people look upon literary efforts as more or less amateur, not entitling the men engaged in this work to be compensated in money. The literary profession is as honourable , if not more, as any other, and unless the men engaged in that profession are supported by the public so as to make them independent og other means of earning their living., the country cannot expect a high class development of its literature. The reading public in India seems to be under the impression that a literary man creates everything from his imagination which they think do not cost him anything. ...Yet the chief factor in keeping down the circulation of the Indian newspapers is the lack of manufactures and industries, which will pay for advertisements and thus support the press and enable it to sell cheaply...I am inclined to think that the proprietors of the Indian newspapers are lacking , to certain extent  at least, in spirit of enterprise. Some of them are known to have made fortunes in business. Yet they are known to have made fortunes in the business. Yet they grudge to invest money in improvements and in getting high class contributions from experts. The Indian papers would do well to club themselves into groups for the purpose of deputing special correspondents to foreign countries and for the purpose of sending the members of their own staff in rotation to study the on the spot in the different countries of the world, how the latter have solved the problems which are at the present moment agitating the Indian mind..The great problem that faces Indian is what to do with her young men, and  I am certain that if the foreign middle man could be replaced by Indians a great field who are at present rotting in government offices or eking out a miserable living in the crowded profession of law..


Lala Lajpat Rai Modern Review. August 1916

Lajpat Rai on Newspaper
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