The newspaper is a reflection of human society and its need to communicate, gather information, and stay educated and entertained. The Indian newspapers are part of a culture and tradition of journalism that date back to the 1800s when the first newspaper in India was published. It was on 29 January 1780 that James Augustine Hicky published The Bengal Gazette, also known as The Calcutta General Advertiser. It was also more popularly known as Hickys Gazette. The first newspaper in India was a two-page newspaper and was published weekly. It comprised advertisements on the first page. Indias first newspaper became quite well-known among the British soldiers, and also encouraged many others to start their publications.In the same year in November, Messer B Messinck and Peter Read published the Indian Gazette. Other newspapers followed, such as the Calcutta Gazette in 1784; The Bengal Journal in 1785; and the Madras Courier by Richard Johnson in 1785.Golden Era of Newspaper in IndiaThe first newspaper in India, and the few that followed it, were heavily influenced by British rule, which did not allow much autonomy to the press. Thus, they were filled with advertisements and could not publish anything that went against the government. Government control was absolute. This was the reason that the first newspaper published in India, as well as the ones that were published subsequently, lacked repute or solid journalism.In 1821, social reformer Raja Rammohan Roy perceived the impact that newspaper could have, and started the Sambad Kaumudi, a weekly Bengali publication. Topics of moral, religious, political, and local interests were published in this newspaper. The newspaper was a clear indication of Indian dissatisfaction with British rule.This was followed by the publication of the Bombay Samachar in the same year by Fardaonji Murzban, the pioneer of the vernacular press in Bombay.The First 5 Newspapers Started in the 19th CenturyAfter the first Indian newspaper to express the sentiment of the nation, other publications followed suit and started contributing to more robust journalism too. Social reformers and political leaders took the lead in contributing to these. The first 5 newspapers in the nineteenth century, following the Sambad Kaumudi, were the following.The Bombay Samachar in 1822 was first published in Gujarati and continues to be printed.The Bombay Times or Journal of Commerce in 1838 was published as the first edition of The Times of India.In 1861, the first edition of The Times of India was published by Robert Knight. In those days, it supported British rule and communicated news in accordance with the philosophy of the raj. It is now among the biggest English newspapers in the country with the widest reach and circulation.The Amrita Bazar Patrika was started in 1868 by Shishir Kumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh. They were brothers and focused their newspaper on social reforms and politics of the times.In 1878, The Hindu was published in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It was an English-language newspaper that continues to be prominent in the 21st century.Technological Advancements in Indian NewspapersBy the 20th century, the newspaper industry grew rapidly. Various regional language publications were started and the industry became a source of employment generation for the nation. Even the literary interests of the masses were increasing, leading to increased readership and circulation.While the initial objective of newspapers was to spread the spirit of nationalism, discuss social reforms and bring together the nation on the grounds of patriotism, in the later years, the newspaper took on a more profit-making stance.Technology introduced means of advancing in this manner and the newspaper industry benefited greatly from it.Early Versions of Vernacular NewspapersThe Bengal Gazette was started to expose the corruption that prevailed under the rule of Warren Hastings. It was applauded by the nation for the brave approach taken by James Augustine Hicky to deal with an issue that others had not yet dared do. The publication sold for one rupee and sold a hundred copies every week. Though it was not an Indian who initiated this bold approach to journalism, his stance was applauded by many and his fearlessness was inspirational.The Amrita Bazar Patrika was a Bengali newspaper published for the first time in 1868. It was first published by Motilal Ghosh. It played a critical role in the Indian nationalist movement by evoking deep nationalist sentiment and promoting the freedom struggle.The prominent newspapers of the time were patriotic in spirit and reflective of the freedom that journalism was slowly gaining.First Editions of Todays Top 3 NewspapersThe top three newspapers of today, by circulation, are Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, and The Times of India. By readership, the top three are Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, and Hindustan.Let us take a look at what the first editions of these newspapers looked like.Dainik BhaskarDainik Bhaskar started in Bhopal in 1958. Its first edition was published in 1948 and was called Subah Saver. The publication was launched to fill in the gap for a Hindi newspaper.Dainik JagranDainik Jagran was launched during the peak of the freedom struggle, in 1942, in Jhansi. Its founder was Puranchand Gupta, and his beliefs were right-wing and pro-Hindutva. His ideology was reflected in the publication.HindustanHindustan or Hindustan Dainik was launched in 1936 in Delhi. It was launched by educational reformer and Indian scholar Madan Mohan Malaviya, who played a crucial role in Indias freedom struggle.The Times of IndiaThe first edition of The Times of India was published as The Bombay Times in 1838. It was created to serve the British readers of western India. The first edition carried a write-up on the requirement for those Indians to be educated 'whose capacity for improvement is inferior to that of no one elsewhere but were victims of ignorance and delusion'.ConclusionEvery year, 29th of January is observed as National Newspaper Day to mark the birth of the newspaper in India in 1780. It is a historical day for the Newspaper Society of India and the Indian journalism industry as a whole. It is their way of commemorating the leaps and bounds achieved in press and journalism over the years, and the state of print journalism today. Being a reflection of society and the nation as a whole, the press in the country has come a long way since the first newspaper in India was published.FAQsWhen was the first newspaper in India published?The first newspaper in India was published on 29 January 1780 by James Augustine Hicky. It was called The Bengal Gazette, also known as The Calcutta General Advertiser.Who was the first Indian journalist?Ramanand Chatterjee is called the father of Indian journalism. He was the founder, editor and owner of the Calcutta-based publication, The Modern Review.Who was the first Indian female photo journalist?Homai Vyarawalla was the first female photo journalist in India. She began her career in 1938 by taking photos for the Bombay Chronicle.