The first man who introduced printing press in India (James Hicky Biography)
The first man who introduced printing press in India was James Hicky. He was an Irishman and was a bit eccentric. In 1780 he introduced the printing press and released the first printed newspaper in whole of India. The name of the newspaper was Bengal Gazette. However, the paper became popular by the name Hicky’s Bengal Gazette.
Hicky’s eccentricity was well known and it was because of his eccentricity that he was prosecuted by Warren Hastings – the then Governor General of India. What Hicky did was he printed gossips about senior officials of EIC or East India Company. Apparently this was not acceptable to Warren Hastings and Hicky had to bear the consequences of not listening to Hastings’ warnings.
What infuriated Hastings more was that Hicky wasn’t shy of printing criticisms against Hastings’ wife – Lady Hastings. The result was plain and simple. He was jailed for two years. However, jail didn’t demotivate Hicky. He continued writing from jail. This infuriated Hastings more and he ordered to seize the movable types that Hicky owned.
Hicky was basically a businessman who came to Calcutta in 1780. He quickly identified the opportunity of starting a press and wrote a proposal back to England. His proposal was granted only on the grounds that no such news will be inserted in the paper that was detrimental to England and her interests. Hicky agreed and hence, he received a nod.
With an official go from the British government, the first printing press was set up in Calcutta, India. Soon, Hicky ignored everything told by British government and started printing stuff that was not in best interest of England. By 1782, paper closed and Hicky was totally destroyed because he dared to expose many scandals of the British.
About the Bengal Gazette
The Bengal Gazette was not only the first major newspaper to be published in India but was also the first English newspaper. It went by two other names – Calcutta General Advertiser and Hicky’s Bengal Gazette. It was India’s first printed newspaper. British soldiers who were posted in India soon became a big fan of the newspaper. The paper also inspired many Indians to come out with their own newspapers. It was a weekly newspaper but on March 23, 1782, the publication was completely closed.
Hicky used his newspaper to attack everyone whether a person was poor or rich or a high ranking official or that of a low rank. Definitely, the British were not very happy with this cruel assault on their image, especially in a country that they ruled. Thus, Hicky brought down his own destruction.
He was the person who introduced newspaper in India and inspired many people by leading by example. He didn’t bow down to the whims and wishes of the rules and that is what the newspapers of later times followed – never surrender to rulers.