Thursday, November 25, 2021

Circulation of Urdu newspapers in India in the decade after Independence

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The Urdu press has a nationwide presence and it was naturally strong in the pre-partition era.

Even after partition, Urdu newspapers had strong impact in parts of the country.

Especially, in national capital, Delhi and Punjab. 

The centres remain the same, even six or seven decades later. Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Bhopal and Bangalore. However, contrary to general feeling the circulation of newspapers in the post-independence era was high, the figures were not too impressive.

Pratap, Tej and Milap were major papers in Delhi. Post-partition, the Hindu and Sikh populace that continued to read Urdu, preferred these papers. In 1959, Siyasat Jadeed Kanpur was quite a big paper and had higher circulation that Siasat, Hyderabad.

Among major dailies, Mumbai had Inquilab, Lucknow had Qaumi Awaz, Calcutta had Asr-e-Jadid and Azad Hind apart from Rozana Hind. Jalandhar had Hind Samachar, Hyderabad had Rahnuma-e-Deccan apart from Siasat and others. 

In Bhopal, Nadeem's circulation was less but again circulation is not a criterion, it had impact. Just like, Times of India and Hindustan Times sell 20-25 times or even more than Indian Express in Delhi, but Express probably still has more impact.

The belief is that it was a golden era of some sorts, as people always look towards past, with love and longing. However, printing newspapers was not easy and litho was the system, before the advent of modern technology. The circulation figures are from the annual report of the Registrar of Newspapers in India (RNI).