In the 19th century social reformers often wrote and debated in newspapers and journals. The growth of Indian nationalism was closely linked to its struggle against colonialism. It emerged in the wake of the institutional changes brought about by British rule in India. Anti colonial public opinion was nurtured and channelized by the nationalist press, which was vocal in its opposition to the oppressive measures of the colonial state.
Under British rule newspapers and magazines, films and radio comprised the range of mass media. Radio was wholly owned by the state. National views could not be, therefore, expressed. Newspapers and films though autonomous from the state were strictly monitored by the Raj. Newspapers and magazines either in English or vernacular were not very widely circulated as the literate public was limited. Yet their influence far out stripped their circulation as news and information was read and spread by word of mouth from commercial and administrative hubs like markets and trading centres as well as courts and towns. The print media carried a range of opinion, which expressed their ideas of a ‘free India’.