Business Standard

India's first free press battles

Hicky's paper lasted barely two years in the face of opposition from the Company's bigwigs


Devangshu Datta
Hicky's Bengal Gazette
The untold story of India's first newspaper 
Andrew Otis 
317 pages 
Rs 899

James Augustus Hicky launched Hicky's Bengal Gazette or The Original Calcutta General Advertiser in January 1780. It was printed at his press at 67, Radha Bazar, Calcutta. The gazette came out every Saturday. It had four pages and sold for Rs 1.  

The first newspaper in India was an instant success, garnering many subscribers. It purveyed an odd mixture of scurrilous, gossipy anonymous letters targeting the high-and-mighty, advertisements, serious news, satire and thundering editorials railing against corruption and taxation without representation.

Contemporary accounts suggest Hicky wasn’t entirely sane.

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First Published: Jul 05 2018 | 5:59 AM IST

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