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Punjabi: The 'Subliminal Charge'

Robin Jeffrey
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 32, No. 9/10 (Mar. 1-14, 1997), pp. 443-445
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4405144
Page Count: 3
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Punjabi: The 'Subliminal Charge'
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Abstract

When India became independent, the Gurmukhi script was confined to Sikh religious writing. It got a fresh lease of life when it was wedded to the demand for a separate state of Punjab. Yet, Gurmukhi flourished as a newspaper language only when computers and offset presses made Gurmukhi newspapers fast and cheap to produce and more attractive to read. [Spreading across India after the end of the 'emergency' in 1977, technological change in the form of the personal computer and offset press revolutionised the newspaper industry. The circulation of daily newspapers in all languages trebled between 1976 and 1992 - from 9.3 million to 28.1 million and the dailies-per-thousand people ratio doubled - from 15 daily newspapers per 1,000 people to 32 per 1,000. Regular reading of something called 'news' both indicates and causes change. Expansion of competing newspapers clearly signals the vitality and growth of capitalism: newspapers have owners and owners must have advertisers. The changes of the past 20 years are obvious yet largely unstudied. The essays in this series on the press in the major Indian languages are part of a larger project to map, analyse and try to understand the transformation of the Indian languages newspaper industry.]

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