Mahatma Gandhi, The Journalist

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Almost everyone knows that Mahatma Gandhi was a Political Leader, but very few know that Gandhi was also a journalist! Yes, Gandhi was a Journalist. For 40 years he edited and published weekly newspapers!!!

Mahatma Gandhi, lawyer by profession, was a freedom fighter and social reformer. He used newspapers for achieving his goal of complete freedom. Chalpathi Raju (an eminent editor) wrote that ‘Gandhi is probably the greatest journalist of all time’ as he intelligently used the pen to lead a mass movement against the British rule.

Gandhi started his journalistic foray in South Africa with Indian Opinion in 1903. The intention behind the newspaper was to give the Indians a weekly round-up of news and to educate them in sanitation and hygiene.

When Gandhi came to India in 1915, he immediately jumped into the freedom movement. He started with Young India to educate the people on Satyagraha as a potent weapon. Harijan, a weekly, was intended to push his social reform agenda of eradicating unsociability and poverty. Gandhi wrote on almost all subjects under the earth. What was striking was that his writings were simple yet clear; it came from passion and burning indignation.

Main objects of journalism according to Gandhi are:

Ø Understand popular opinion and give expression to it.

Ø Arouse desirable sentiments among the people and

Ø Fearlessly expose popular defects.

His newspaper didn’t carry advertisements, yet it had high circulation. He felt that journalism should not be a vocation for earning a living. It should be a means to serve the public, an aid to a larger goal. ‘Journalism is very powerful- to be used in a controlled manner; control from within not outside’ (Gandhi was against censorship). He reached a large number of the Indians with his newspapers at a time when mass media was limited.




"My newspapers became for me a training ground in self-restraint and a means for studying human nature in all its shades and variations. Without the newspapers a movement like Satyagraha could not have been possible." -Mahatma Gandhi

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