Page No 176:
Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?
Some people in eighteenth-century Europe thought that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism. Its easy and cheap availability meant that literacy would no longer be restricted to the upper classes. While the clergy and monarchs feared the enlightenment that a vast reading public would gain, reformers like Martin Luther welcomed the change. They felt that it would mark an end to the blind adherence to the rulers’ ideology. This can be seen in the French Revolution as well. The print medium allowed the ideals of freedom, equality and brotherhood set forth by Rousseau and Voltaire in their writings to reach the public. It created a new culture of dialogue and debate that initiated the working class into questioning and re-evaluating social customs and norms. The power of reason that the public gained initiated social reform, and brought an end to despotism.
Page No 176:
Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example from Europe and one from India.
The people who feared the effect of easily available printed books were the ones who held some power, whether in terms of religion, caste, class or politics. The fear was that their power and authority would get eroded if ideas questioning their power and authority gained mass popularity. In Europe, for example, the Roman Catholic Church conveyed its sense of apprehension for the print medium by stating that the promotion of new "printed" readings of faith would lead to blasphemous questionings of faith and encourage heretical ideas. It considered itself to be the sole authority for interpreting religion. Hence, it set up the Index of Prohibited Books in 1558 to repress any published material that it felt corroded this authority.
In India, apart from the colonial government which did its bit in regulating and suppressing newspapers and books that questioned and criticised colonial authority, the religious leaders and the upper castes also displayed their fear of the print medium. They understood that their religious and social superiority was in danger due to the easily accessible "printed" ideas contradicting their systems of beliefs. They knew that the popularisation of such ideas would incite people to rebellion.
Page No 176:
What were the effects of the spread of print culture for poor people in nineteenth century India?
The poor people benefited from the spread of print culture in India on account of the availability of low-price books and public libraries. Enlightening essays were written against caste discrimination and its inherent injustices. These were read by people across the country. On the encouragement and support of social reformers, over-worked factory workers set up libraries for self-education, and some of them even published their own works, for example, Kashibaba and his “Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal”.
Page No 176:
Explain how print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India.
Print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India by providing easy access to nationalist ideals and ideas of freedom and equality to the masses. Social reformers could now print their opinions in newspapers, which sparked off public debates. The power of reason made the common people question the authority of colonial power. Interestingly, when the British tried to censor and control print media, nationalist newspapers grew in number everywhere in the country. They reported on colonial misrule and encouraged people to participate in nationalist activities. Attempts to censor anti-colonial publications aroused militant protests as well.
View NCERT Solutions for all chapters of Class 10