NCERT Solutions for Class 10 History Chapter 7 - Print Culture and the Modern World
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Chapter 7 - Print Culture and the Modern World Exercise 176
- Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295 because:
- The technology had originally developed in China.
- It was first brought to Italy by the famous explorer Marco Polo, on his return from China.
- It was only after its used became normalized in Italy that it began to spread into the other parts of Europe.
- Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in support of it because of the following reasons:
- It enabled immediate reproduction, availability and reading of his work ‘Ninety Five Theses’ in which he criticised the many of the rituals and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
- It fostered an environment of intellectual exchange and spread new ideas that challenged the old ones.
- Luther’s translation of the New Testament sold 5,000 copies within a few weeks and a second edition appeared within 3 months. This was made possible only due to print technology.
- The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an index of prohibited books from the mid 16th century because:
- Print technology allowed dissenters to spread their ideas through printed books and pamphlets. For example, Menocchio, a miller in Italy reinterpreted a message of God and gave his own ideas regarding religion. As a result, he was hauled up twice and finally executed.
- The Church was worried about irreligious and rebellious ideas spreading through printed material and they feared that the authority of their religious beliefs would be questioned.
- Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press and freedom of association because:
- There was a conscious attempt on the part of the British government to curb the freedom of the Press and the liberty of speech in order to contain the nationalist sentiment among the Indians.
- Many legislations like the Vernacular Press Act and the Defense of India Act were passed in order to curb government criticism in the media and in order to contain the nationalist movement.
- Therefore, Gandhi claimed that the fight for Swaraj was above all a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press and freedom of association because these were fundamental human rights naturally entitled to all individuals.
a) The first printing Press was built by Johann Gutenberg in the year 1448. It revolutionized the printing industry by shifting production from manual labour to mechanical production. It remained the principal technology of production for the next 300 years. The Press used moulds for casting metal types for each of the Roman alphabets. It was also called the movable type printing machine and it made the process of book production much faster. 180 copies of the Bible were printed by the Gutenberg Press in 3 months, which by standards of that time was fast.
b) Erasmus was a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer. He criticised the excesses and unjust practices in Christianity. However, unlike Martin Luther, he was not very hopeful about the role to be played by the printed book in his endeavour to rid Catholicism of its problems. He wrote in the 'Adages' that printing had created a 'glut', most of which were harmful dealing with trifling, ignorant things. He opined that such works hurt the 'valuable' publications and eroded their value.
c) The Vernacular Press Act, modeled on the Irish Press Act, was passed with the particular aim of curbing the native press. It gave the British government in India the power to censor reports and editorials in the Indian language newspapers. It was a direct on the freedom of press and freedom of expression of the citizens. Armed with the provisions of the Act, the British rulers could declare reports seditious, warn newspapers and confiscate printing machinery of offenders. This was an explicit attempt on weakening the nationalist sentiment among the people by clamping down hard on the vernacular press.
a) The print media dealt with several important of women's issues like sati, female infanticide, widow remarriage, polygamy, etc. It connected Indian women from different strata of society irrespective of their caste, class, religion or economic status. Women like Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai wrote about the miserable conditions of upper caste Hindu women. Such writings created awareness about the unjust treatment meted out to women, the denial of education to them and how they were kept inside the house in order to exploit them through patriarchal controls. Print culture has to be credited also for helping women writers Kailashbashini Debi and Rashsundari Debi emerge. In fact, Rashsundari Debi learnt to read and write in the secrecy of her kitchen and later wrote her famous autobiography 'Amar Jiban'. Print was also used for publishing journals written for and sometimes edited by women. Such journals offered household and fashion tips and provided entertainment through short stories and serialized novels.
b) With print technology, the accessibility of books to the poor increased manifold. Workers of the Bangalore Cotton Mill and Bombay mill workers started libraries to educate themselves. Such libraries also featured works on social issues like caste discrimination, e.g., 'Gulamgiri' written by Jyotiba Phule. Also, writings of Dr. Ambedkar and E.V.R. Naicker were also read by the poorer sections of the society. Many self-styled working class writers emerged after reading these writings. This was also made possible because there was a conscious effort on the social workers' part to open libraries and reach out to the proletarian sections of the society.
c) Print enabled divergent interpretations of faith and social reforms between reformers and the orthodox among Hindu and Muslims to conduct their battles in public. It also encouraged the production of portable cheap religious texts, which could be read out to the poor or illiterate by religious reformers. Print media also helped in generating debate and shaping public opinion on important social evils like sati, untouchability, caste discrimination, etc. It enabled the government to pass laws prohibiting sati and institutionalizing widow remarriage.
The proliferation of vernacular language newspapers helped the reformers to spread rational and scientific thinking through their writing. This was done by Raja Rammohan Roy who published Sambad Kaumudi in 1821. Print also helped reformers to make people aware of the developments and new ideas around the world and enabled them to foster a pan-Indian identity. This, in turn, helped in the mobilization of Indians in the national movement for political independence.
There were several reasons for people to think that print culture would bring enlightenment in Europe and end despotism:
i) It was thought that books would bring forth an era that would bring into societal focus reason and intellect rather than customs and conservative norms. This hope was voiced by the novelist Sebastien Mercier.
ii) Popular religious literature stimulated questioning of traditional beliefs, critical and rational thinking and encouraged distinctive interpretations of religious faith.
iii) Print created a new culture of dialogue, debate and dissent. It was a significant shift from the earlier socio-political paradigm of popular culture.
iv) In events like the French Revolution and the Protestant Reformation, print material encouraged people to question and act against the sacred authority of the Catholic Church and the despotic power of the monarchy in Europe.
Some people feared the easy availability of printed because the dissenters could now print and circulate their ideas, introduce debate and foment dissent among the masses. Through printed literature it was also possible now for them to mobilize public opinion on a large scale and encourage it to rebel against the authorities.
In Europe, in the sixteenth century, a miller named Menocchio from Italy reinterpreted the message of the Bible and formulated a view of God that offended the Roman Catholic Church. He was hauled up twice for his views and later on executed.
In India, the conservatives often believed the literate girls would forget their place in society, become characterless or face early widowhood. Hence, social reformers like Jyotiba Phule were often subjected to verbal abuse and social sanction.
With print technology, the accessibility of books to the poor increased manifold. Workers of the Bangalore Cotton Mill and Bombay mill workers started libraries to educate themselves. Such libraries also featured works on social issues like caste discrimination, e.g., 'Gulamgiri' written by Jyotiba Phule. In addition, writings of Dr. Ambedkar and E.V.R. Naicker were read by the poorer sections of the society. Many self-styled working class writers emerged after reading these writings. This was also made possible because there was a conscious effort on the social workers' part to open libraries and reach out to the proletarian sections of the society. This was done by the social workers in order to veer the working class away from social evils like excessive drinking, gambling, etc. and bring them within the fold of the mainstream of the national movement for reform and political independence.
Print culture and its various forms like vernacular newspapers, novels, essays, poems, patriotic songs ,etc. played an important role in the growth of nationalism in India:
i) Native language newspapers like Kesari and Amrit Bazaar Patrika espoused Indian nationalism by criticizing government misrule and eulogizing nationalist leaders.
ii) Print culture encouraged people to debate, discuss and act on various issues of national importance. Newspapers in particular generated a lot of nationalist fervor on matters of Ilbert Bill, the Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act.
iii) Nationalist leaders often used the print media in order to generate debate on national issues and mobilize public opinion for political action.
iv) Government attempts to curb the freedom of the press and by extension the influence of the print media led to widespread protests and hence indirectly contributed to the development of Indian nationalism.
v) Print connected the vast variety of national, language and ethnic identities in India. It gave them certain common beliefs, common values and a common heritage to take pride in and gave them a common political enemy - the British colonial government. In addition, it also gave them, through the development of Indian literature, the belief in its own cultural and political heritage.
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