Bihar Bandhu: First Hindi Newspaper of Bihar (1872) – A Glimpse into History, Legacy, and Cultural Heritage

In the rich tapestry of Bihar’s history, an iconic name stands as a symbol of journalistic innovation and cultural resurgence – Bihar Bandhu. In the year 1872, a revolutionary milestone was achieved as Bihar Bandhu, the first weekly newspaper of the state, was launched from Bihar Sharif.

Spearheaded by the visionary Keshav Ram Bhatta, this publication was not only a pioneering effort in the field of Hindi journalism but also a catalyst for the preservation of cultural heritage and linguistic empowerment.

Story

The establishment of Bihar Bandhu marked a historic turning point in Bihar’s media landscape. This groundbreaking newspaper was not only a voice for the people but a reflection of their aspirations and dreams.

At its helm were two dedicated individuals, Madan Mohan Bhatt and Hasan Ali, both residents of Bihar Sharif. Madan Mohan Bhatt served as the director, and Hasan Ali undertook the role of editor, guiding the newspaper with their editorial acumen and journalistic integrity.

Influence and Legacy

The pages of Bihar Bandhu came to life in the bustling town of Bihar Sharif, but its impact stretched far beyond its place of origin. Printed at the Shri Puran Prakash Press in Kolkata, the newspaper’s influence spread like wildfire, inspiring a sense of linguistic pride and cultural unity among the masses.

This historical significance has been meticulously chronicled in the annals of literature. Radha Krishna Prasad, in his seminal article titled ‘Hindi Magazines of Bihar,’ published in ‘Jayanti Smarak Granth,’ details the inception of Bihar Bandhu as the first Hindi newspaper in Bihar.

The article, spanning pages 574-575, elucidates the collaborative efforts of Pandit Keshav Ram Bhatt and Pandit Madan Mohan Bhatt that led to the birth of this trailblazing weekly publication.

Evolution

Munshi Hasan Ali, a close associate of the Bhatt brothers, assumed the mantle of editorship from 1872 to 1873. The wheels of progress were set in motion, and by 1874, the printing press had moved to the heart of Patna, expanding Bihar Bandhu’s reach. Keshav Ram Bhatta himself took the reins of editorial responsibility in 1875, etching his name in history as the first Hindi journalist of Bihar.

Hindi Promotion and Socio-Political Impact

The impact of Bihar Bandhu transcended its pages, paving the way for the promotion of the Hindi language in Bihar. It left an indelible mark on the socio-political landscape, contributing to the entry of Hindi in courts and igniting a wave of socio-political awakening.

In the words of Keshav Ram Bhatta himself,

अपने मातृभाषा के माध्यम से विचार व्यक्त करने में ही सत्यता है, हिन्दी हमारी भाषा है, हिन्दी ही हमारा साहित्य है। (The truth lies in expressing thoughts through our mother tongue; Hindi is our language, and Hindi is our literature.)

— Keshav Ram Bhatta

Keshav Ram Bhatta and his compatriots were instrumental in this transformation, earning them a revered place in the history books of Hindi and the speeches of the initial presidents of the Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan.

Journalism’s Cultural Vanguard

In a world that is constantly evolving, the story of Bihar Bandhu serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our cultural and linguistic heritage. As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of media and communication, let us pay homage to the pioneers who paved the way for the free exchange of ideas and information, and let their spirit guide us in our pursuit of a more informed, enlightened, and inclusive society.

As we look back at the legacy of Bihar Bandhu and the visionary efforts of Keshav Ram Bhatta and his associates, we are reminded of the power of journalism to shape cultures and drive change.

Bihar Bandhu remains a testament to the unwavering dedication of individuals who dared to challenge conventions, pioneer new frontiers, and in the process, laid the foundation for a vibrant linguistic and cultural heritage in the state of Bihar.

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