It was not until 18S0 that the first Urdu periodical Urdu script was published at the Kohi-Noor Press, Lahore. It was printed twice a week and had a very large circulation, in fact, the largest of any in the provinces of SOUf h Asia. Mr. Khurshid infonns us that Kohi-Noor’ was a weekly paper published every Monday.

It was started under the patronage of the Board of Administration of the Punjab who were also originators of this press.

The Urdu Newspaper entitled ‘Kohi-Noor conducted by Harsukh Rai was printed in a very good type and sold at the price of one rupee eight annas a month.

It contained extracts from the Government Gazette’ of Agra, and current news. Its circulation during 1851 had fallen from 227 to 189. Among those 105 copies were purchased by Hindus; 52 by Muslims; 19 by Christians and 13 were exchanged.

There was a very large printing press, and, according to Munshi Harsukh Lal, he could not have covered the expenses without the support of the Board. The circulation of this paper again increased after a year to 205 copies.

It was favourite paper of English people and in the course of the mutiny in 1857, it strongly supported the British.

Two more papers, one called ‘Gulzar-i-Punjab’ from Gujranwala under the editorship of Munshi Kanda Mil and ‘Khurshid Alim’ from Sialkot were subsequently published in 1850, the latter being edited by Munshi Dewan Chand who was an established and reputable editor and had set up ‘Cheshm-i-Faiz Press’ at Lahore in 1853, he began to issue a weekly magazine under the title of ‘Cheshm-i-Faiz: The newspaper ‘Victoria’ was also published from Sialkot in 1853, but it was not in the Urdu language.

In the same year ‘Iluma-i-Bebaha’ a fortnightly paper, was printed from Lahore. It is not known whether it was in Urdu language. Another Urdu newspaper ‘Darya-i-Noor’ was started at the close of 1850, consisting of three sheets.

It was published every Sunday at Matba-i-Darya-i-Noor, Lahore and had over 100 subscribers and was edited by a very able gentleman, Saiyed Najib-ud-Din Hassan. It was later edited by Munshi Sunder Lal and at the end of 1851 the. circulation was 107 out of which Hindus used to take 28 copies, Muslims 39 copies, Christians 30, and 10 copies were exchanged. There remained only 25 subscribers at the end of 1852 and the expense of conducting it 0 could not be defrayed from the receipts.

The proprietor, Fakir Siraj-ud-Din, therefore, had to close down the press. It was reported by Harsukh Rai that not only the Darya-i-Noor’ but all the other presses in Punjab, with the exception of ‘Kohi-Noor’, hnd be-en discontinued during the past year.

There was also an Urdu magazine which contained very critical views about different people and it was published from ‘Matba-i-Riaz-i-Nocr’, Multan.

The following is an extract from the ‘Records of Government’ concerning the aforesaid paper» “The ‘Riaz-i-Noor newspaper, issued from this press, was discontinued for a period of two months, whilst its editor, Munshee Mahomed Hoosein Khan, was in confinement for having inserted in his paper, certain libellous articles against the Tehseeldar of Molltan; but the paper has again commenced issuing, and the editor, who is just released from imprisonment, has fully described in his defence the circumstances of the case in the first number of his paper.

He seems to be a first rate Oordoo writer, and is well able to conduct the duties of an editor, had he not the defect in him of being sometimes too free and personal towards those whom he disliked. ”
Signed C.P.C. Smyth Offg. Asstt. Sec. to the Govt. N.W.P.” Urdu periodicals mainly in the 1850’s were published from Braily, Meerut, Indore, Ludhiana, Bharatpore, Madras and Lucknow.

The ‘Matba-i-Umdat-ul-Akhbar’ produced a weekly newspaper ca.lled ‘Umdat-ul-Akhbar’ edited by Munshi Lachman Pershad of the Brailly College, the paper consisted of three sheets, contai ning current news and extract from “Agra .

Government Gazette”. In 1850 the circulation was 56 copies, it fell to 43 in 1851. The Urdu language ‘Miftah-ul-Akhbar’, edited by Hakim Mahboob Ali, first appeared in May 1849, from ‘Matbai- Qadri’, Meerut. The following year the circulation had fallen from 69 to 40 copies, in 1852 the editor sustained a heavy loss which compelled him to cease publication because the circulation had reduced to 24 copies. The ‘Moltoa-Ahhbar’ started publication in the beginning of 1848. It was issued under the auspices of Mr. Hamilton, the resident at Indore, from the Indore press and was edited by Dharam Narayn, a senior scholar of the Dehli College.

It had 1.08 subscribers at one rupee a month, and the editor proclaimed that if all the copies were sold, he could make a profit ofRs. 1600 in one year. The paper contained half a sheet in Urdu and half in Hindi. From Ludhiana there appeared in 1851 ‘Noor Ala Noor’, or a light upon light, an Urdu weekly, in 1851,cornprrsmg three sheets containing extracts from the “Agrn Government Gazette”. It was edited by Muhammad Hussain Khan and printed at the Ludhinan Noor Ala Noor Press.

After five or six months this paper died a natural death; the same misfortune befel the ‘Bagh-i-Noor’ of Amritsar.

The Bhurtpure Safdari Press was established in November, 1850 and Safdar Ali, a servant of the Bhurtpure Government began to publish ‘Mazhar-us-Suroor’ in Urdu and Hindi in parallel columns. The first Urdu magazine from Madras was issued in 1848 entitled ‘Azam-ul-Akhbar’ at the Azam-ul- Akhbar Press followed by ‘Taiseer-ul-Akhbar’ in 1849 which was edited by Hakim Abdul Basit and sold at 5 annas per month or 5 paisa per copy.

Two other papers printed in Madras were ‘Aftab-i- Alirn-tab: 1849 and ‘Jamil-ul·Akhbar’, 1852, the latter containing eight pages issued weekly and published under the superintendence of Saiyed Rehmat Ullah.’ It was not until July, 1856 that “I’ilsarn-i-Lucknow’ was issued under the editorship of Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub Ansari and another Urdu paper ‘Sehar Samri’ commenced publication in November, 1856. It was edited jointly by Ghair Naryan Ayash and Pandit Beig Nath. The 16th December, 1856 issue of islam-i-Lucknow’ has been examined by Mr. Siddiqi who claims that this number is preserved in the  N.A.I. He has also submitted a photo-copy of No. 26, 16th January, 1857

Posted on November 27, 2015 in Muslim Press In The Sub-continent

Share the Story

Back to Top
Share This