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Print Culture and the Modern World Class 10 Questions and Answers History Chapter 7
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Print Culture and the Modern World NCERT Intext Questions and Answers
Write briefly why some people feared that the development of print could lead to the growth of dissenting ideas.
Print created the possibility of wide circulation of ideas, and introduced a new world of debate and discussion. Even those who disagreed with established authorities could now print and circulate their ideas. The developments made some people wary. They feared that if there was no control over what was printed and read then rebellious and irreligious thoughts might spread. If that happened religious authorities and monarchs would be in danger. Even some writers and artists were worried of the new printed literature that had begun to circulate. The new intellectual atmosphere that print had brought made them restless.
Why do some historians think that print culture created the basis for the French Revolution?
Some historians think so because of the following reasons:
(i) Print enabled the common people to be familiar with the ideas of scientists and philosophers. The writings of thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau were widely printed and read. People began to raise questions on tradition, superstition and despotism. They demanded that everything be judged through the application of reason and rationality.
(ii) Print made people bold enough to attack the sacred authority of the church and the despotic power of the state.
(iii) Print culture prepared an environment in which all values, norms and institutions were re-evaluated and discussed by an enlightened public.
(iv) The popular literature of the time began mocking the royalty and criticising their morality.
History Class 10 Chapter 7 NCERT Textbook Questions and Answers
Give reasons for the following:
(a) Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295.
(b) Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of it.
(c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an Index of Prohibited books from the mid¬sixteenth century.
(d) Gandhiji said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association.
(a) Woodblock print was invented around the sixth century in China. It came to Europe along with Marco Polo, in 1295. This was the year when the great explorer returned to Italy after many years of exploration in China. He brought the knowledge of woodblock print with him on his return.
(b) Being a religious reformer of his time Martin Luther was critical of many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. He wanted to make people aware of all these. Print gave him a chance to do it. In 1517, he wrote Ninety Five Theses in which he challenged the Chruch to debate his ideas. Luther’s writings were immediately reproduced in vast numbers and read widely. This led to a division within the Church and to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was deeply grateful to print. He said, ‘Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one’.
(c) The advent of print and its increasing popularity had already made the Roman Catholic Church restless. The Church had to face many dissents from the mid-sixteenth century onwards. People had written several books that interpreted the God and Creation in the way they liked. The Roman Church, troubled by such effects of popular readings and questioning of faith, imposed severe control over publishers and booksellers and began to keep an Index of Prohibited books from 1558.
(d) Gandhiji considered that the liberty of speech, the liberty of press and freedom of association were the three most powerful vehicles of expressing and cultivating public opinion. The British Government in India was bent upon to crush these three powerful vehicles. Gandhiji was very apprehensive of that. So, he said that the fight for Swaraj was a fight for the liberty of speech, the liberty of press and freedom of association.
Write short notes to show what you know about:
(a) The Gutenberg Press
(b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book
(c) The Vernacular Press Act
(a) The Gutenberg Press: Johann Gutenberg of Germany developed the first-known printing press in the 1430s. It was a developed form of wine and olive presses. The above presses, in fact, provided him the model for the printing press, and moulds were used for casting the metal types for the letters of the alphabet. By 1448, Gutenberg perfected the system. The first book he printed was the Bible. About 180 copies were printed and it took three years to produce them which was fast production by the standards of the time.
(b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book: Erasmus was a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer. He criticised the excesses of Catholicism but maintained a distance from Martin Luther. He expressed a deep anxiety about printing. He considered that most of the printed books were stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious. The increase in the number of such books was very unfortunate because of their devaluating effect on the valuable books. Such excesses would be dangerous and therefore, should be stopped.
(c) As vernacular newspapers became assertively rationalist, the colonial government passed the Vernacular Press Act, in 1878. It was modelled on the Irish Press Laws. It provided the government with extensive rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular press. From now on the government kept regular track of the vernacular newspapers published in different provinces. When a report was judged seditious, the newspaper was warned, and if the warning was ignored, the press was liable to be seized and the printing machinery confiscated.
What did the spread of print culture in nineteenth century India mean to:
(b) The poor
(a) Women: The spread of print culture in 19th century India proved highly beneficial for the Indian women. They began reading printed material. Their lives and feelings began to be written in particularly vivid and intense ways. Liberal families started educating them. Many journals began carrying writings by women, and explained why women should be educated. But conservative Hindus and Muslims were dead against women education. Conservative Hindus believed that a literate girl would be widowed and Muslims feared that educated women would be corrupted by reading Urdu romances.
Sometimes, rebel women defied such prohibition. They began to read books and learnt writing in secrecy. Rashsundari Debi in East Bengal was such a woman who learnt to read in the secrecy of her kitchen and later wrote her autobiography Amar Jiban, which was published in 1876. In the 1880s, in present- day Maharashtra, women such as Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai wrote with passionate anger about the miserable lives of the upper caste Hindu women, especially windows.
Thus, the spread of print culture in the 19th century India empowered Indian women to a great extent. They began thinking and writing in their own way without being deterred by conservative Hindus and Muslims.
(b) The poor: The readership among the poor increased considerably due to the publication of low-priced books. Public libraries were set up from the early twentieth century, expanding the access to books. Although factory workers mostly lacked education to write much about their experiences, there were some who wrote to show the links between caste and class discrimination. For instance, Kanpur’s millworker Kashibaba’s Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal which was published in 1938. Factory workers also set up libraries to educate themselves.
(c) Reformers: Print culture made the reformers’ task easy. They now began using print to spread their reformist ideas and highlight the unethical issues. Issues of caste discrimination began to be written about in many printed tracts and essays. Jyotiba Phule, the Maratha pioneer of ‘low-caste’ protest movements, wrote about the injustices of the caste system in his book named Gulamgiri in 1871. In the twentieth century, B.R. Ambedkar in Maharashtra and E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker in Madras wrote powerfully on caste and their writings were read by people all over India. Reformers like Raja Rammohun Roy and Dayanand Saraswati attacked on some of the crudest social evils such sati pratha, child marriage, etc. By using print, these reformers changed the mindset of the contemporary people who previously glorified these practices.
Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?
By the mid-eighteenth century, there was a common conviction that books were a means of spreading progress and enlightenment. People began to show their belief in books. They were sure that only books could change the world, liberate society from despotism and tyranny, and herald a time when reason and intellect would rule. Louise-Sebastien Mercier, a novelist in the eighteenth century France, viewed the printing press as the most powerful engine of progress and public opinion as the force that would end despotism. In many of Mercier’s novels, the heroes are transformed by acts of reading.
Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example from Europe and one from India.
The religious authorities and monarchs, as well as many writers and artists were upset to see the easy availability of printed books. They were apprehensive of the effects that the easier access to the printed word and the wider circulation of books, could have on people’s minds. They feared that if there was no control over what was printed and read then rebellious and irreligious thoughts might spread. If that happened, there would be complete chaos.
(i) In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church tried to check the flow of printed books by imposing severe control over publishers and booksellers. The Church also began to maintain an Index of Prohibited Books from 1558.
(ii) In India, the colonial government introduced the Vernacular Press Act in 1878. This Act imposed stringent control on the local newspapers. The government now kept regular track of the vernacular newspapers published in different provinces. There was also a certain amount of fear among the Hindu orthodoxy and upper class people.
What were the effects of the spread of print culture for poor people in nineteenth century India?
The effects of the spread of print culture for poor people in nineteenth century India can be assessed by the following points:
(i) The nineteenth century Indian markets were flooded with low-priced books. This allowed poor people travelling to markets to buy them.
(ii) Public libraries were set up by rich local patrons. These libraries expanded the access to books. Poor people could easily get books of their choice and read them.
(iii) From the late nineteenth century, issues of caste discrimination began to be written about in many printed tracts and essays. These were widely read by people across the country.
(iv) The writings of the social reformers boosted up even the overworked factory workers. For instance, Kashibaba, a Kanpur millworker, wrote and published Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal in 1938 to show links between caste and class exploitation.
(v) By the 1930s, Bangalore cotton mill workers set up libraries to educate themselves, following the example of Bombay workers.
Explain how print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India.
The print culture played an important role in spreading nationalist feelings among Indians:
(i) Printed tracts and newspapers spread new ideas and shaped the nature of the debate, which ultimately assisted the growth of nationalism. Common people began questioning why colonial rule should continue in India.
(ii) Print did not only stimulate the publication of conflicting opinions amongst communities, but it also connected communities and people in different parts of India. Newspapers conveyed news from one place to another, creating pan-Indian identities.
(iii) Although the colonial government had introduced the Vernacular Press Act, it could not suppress the growth of nationalist newspapers. These newspapers grew in numbers in all parts of India. They reported on colonial misrule and encouraged nationalist activities.
(iv) Attempts to strangle nationalist criticism provided militant protest. This in turn led to a renewed cycle ofpersecution and protests. When Punjab revolutionaries were deported in 1907, Balgangadhar Tilak wrote with great sympathy about them in his Kesari. People read them and showed their resentment.
(v) Print culture helped in developing a very solid nationalist background which acted strongly against the colonial government in India.
Find out more about the changes in print technology in the last 100 years. Write about the changes, explaining why they have taken place, what their consequences have been.
- The earliest kind of print technology involved hand printing.
- From AD 594 onwards, books were printed by rubbing paper.
- Then came woodblock printing in which paper, ink and carved wooden blocks were used.
- In the 1430s, Gutenberg’s printing press came into being.
He developed metal types for each of the 26 characters of the Roman alphabet and devised a way of moving them around so as to compose different words of the text. This came to be known as the moveable type printing machine.
- Then came electrically operated presses, automatic, paper reels, photoelectric controls of colour register.
Class 10 History Chapter 7 NCERT Intext Activity Questions and Answers
Imagine that you are a cartoonist in France before the revolution. Design a cartoon as it would have appeared in a pamphlet.
Look at Fig. 13 on Textbook Page 166. What impact do such advertisements have on the public mind? Do you think everyone reacts to printed material in the same way?
Advertisements always make impact upon public mind. Through it, a clear message is given to the public regarding the product. It makes them familiar about the products. Through it, they can justify between what is right and what is wrong. I don’t think that everyone reacts to printed material in the same way. Advertisement makes impact upon the masses whether they are literate or illiterate. But printed material only makes impact upon literate people.
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