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First Printed Work of India

  • Date Submitted: 05/12/2011 04:07 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.6 
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The first literature ever printed in India was released on November 6, 1556. The rest is history. The missionaries established a number of printing presses in many parts of India, triggering a language and literature revolution.
The history of printing in India is the story of the re-awakening of a nation. No wonder, when B.S. Kesavan wrote the three-volume comprehensive History of Printing and Publishing in India, published by National Book Trust (1985), he sub-titled it as "A Story of Cultural Re-awakening". In his words: "The history of printing starts with the rehearsal of Evangelist efforts — Catholic and Protestant. Fifty-nine years after the landing of Vasco da Gama in India, the printing press opened its account at Goa, a few decades after the beginning of the 16th century. Within a hundred years of the printing of Gutenberg's Bible in Germany, India initiated its groping towards fashioning of types for the many Indian languages."
The story of printing is not merely a matter of what was printed when, but how the Gutenberg invention proved a handmaid to the cultural uplift of the nation. In literature, spanning all its genres, in art, in music, in folklore, in language and rhetoric, how did printing expand the intellectual horizons in the country? How did printing achieve this in the sciences, in philosophy, in the social sciences, and various other disciplines? Points out Kesavan: "The promethean effort of bringing knowledge from exclusive palm-leaves and other manuscripts into the houses of ordinary people, and familiarise them with their cultural heritage, is an aspect of this history in every Indian language. How printing has served tradition, and also challenged tradition, is a very exciting story. Printing has no political, social or religious barriers, and is a mode of broadcasting ideas adopted by all shades of opinion".
If the location of the earliest printing presses in India were plotted on the map, it will be found that they were all...

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