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Created on Dec 23, 1995; last modified Feb 5, 1999.


Although the first printing press was imported into Bombay as early as 1670 by the Parsi businessman Bhimjee Parikh, it was more than a hundred years before the first newspaper was printed.

The first newspapers in Bombay were owned and printed by Parsis, who already owned the technological and financial basis for such ventures. The first English newspaper in Bombay was printed by Rustomji Keshaspathi in 1777.

The first vernacular newspaper in Bombay was the Gujarati daily Mumbai Samachar, published in 1822 by Fardoonjee Marzban. Although not the first newspaper in an Indian language (that distinction was held by the Bengali newspaper Sangbad Kaumudi, published from Calcutta) Mumbai Samachar is still being published, and is India's oldest newspaper. The first Marathi daily Dig-Dursan appeared in 1837, and the first Hindu-Gujarati newspaper, Vartaman in 1849 (in Ahmedabad).

Initially the newspapers concentrated on social issues. In 1851 Dadabhai Naoroji started the first political paper-- Rast Goftar. In later years, when K. N. Kabraji became the publisher, he stopped all political commentary and had a public exchange of letters with Naoroji in which each accused the other of deviating from the original agenda.

In 1878 the Government of India passed the Censorship Act. Protests from the press had no effect. Four years later, in 1882, the newspaper Kaiser-i-Hind was founded by Framjee Cowasji Mehta. This became a platform for the fledgling Congress from its inception in 1885. The leading British newspaper of this time was the Times of India.