Colonial constructions of Print Media in Assam with special reference to Orunodoy

Vol-1 | Issue-12 | December 2016 | Published Online: 05 December 2016    PDF ( 150 KB )
Dr. Amiya Kumar Das 1

1D.K.D. College. Dergaon, Golaghat(Assam) -785614


The colonial period in Assam led to the emergence of multiple contradictions. This period witnessed the increasing communication and interaction with Bengal, as the incipient Assamese middle class had their higher education in Bengal. In the latter half of 19th century, the Bengali middle class was accepted as the positive reference group in Assam and there were lots of Bengali influence in the sociocultural life of Assamese educated class. But the imperatives of the colonial economy led to the influx of non-Assamese businessmen into Assam and as the number of educated persons in Assam was very few, the colonial administration facilitated the coming of a number of Bengali persons to work as clerks into Assam. As the size of the Assamese middle class were increasing, ideas and opinions regarding the maintenance of Assamese linguistic identity and the apprehensions for its future was being articulated in the contemporary literature. This apprehension of the Assamese middle class regarding the future of Assamese identity, the conflict for govt. jobs with the Bengali educated class in the context of colonialism and the large-scale influx of people from the neighbouring states led to the emergence of Assamese nationalism from the latter half of 19th century. This apprehension which worked as a rallying point for the educated middle class was preceded by the literary developments, development of a standard Assamese language and publication of a range of Assamese journals. Anthony Smith has rightly observed, “ The ideologies of nationalism require an immersion in the culture of the nation- the discovery of its history, the revival of its vernacular language through such disciplines as philology and lexicography, the cultivation of its literature, especially drama and poetry, and the restoration of its vernacular arts and crafts, as well as its music, including its native and folk songs……..Typically, a nationalist movement will commence not with a protest rally, declaration or with armed resistance but with the appearance of literary societies, historical research, music festivals and cultural journals.” The Assamese identity formation and its political articulation also underwent a similar trajectory where cultivation of culture, press and history provided the sustenance to the emerging nationalist project of. Orunodoi the first magazine of Assam in colonial time had profusely created a writer and who are become the ardent admire of Assamese nationalist identity.

Print Media, Middle class, Missionaries, Vernacular, Linguistic
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