...A study of Indian history from 16th to 20th centuries will indicate that the transition from feudalism to modern society has been slow and incomplete despite the occasional turbulence, turmoil, wars, social reforms, and intellectual ferment. It was during the mid-19th century (First War of Independence) and the 20th century freedom movement that the Indian newspapers played a powerful and prominent role in questioning the forces of authority, social prejudices and the suppression of personal liberty. During the late 19th and early 20th century, attempts to propagate the ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity, and freedom were made by political and social leaders. The journals started by them played a historical role in questioning old ideas and practices like casteism, communalism, superstitions, educational backwardness and women’s oppression. Modern rational and scientific ideas, secularism, tolerance, and economic empowerment of the people were propagated in the writings of national leaders. The newspapers, particularly, served in conscientizing literate and educated people about the need for social reforms and political independence. Until 1950, the newspapers no doubt, served in inspiring people of the country towards a change in their thinking about social transformation, economic empowerment and the establishment of a strong foundation for democracy. But in recent decades, a decline in the functioning of the press/media has set in....
India is a land of villages. It is said that real India lives in villages. About seventy per cent of its population lives in villages. India is undergoing revolutionary changes. Its villages are not untouched by those changes.
The changes are reflected in every walk of life. These changes have been brought by various agents. These include science, technology, and spread of education, advent of media in rural areas, industrialisation, urbanisation and migration. Hence the lifestyle, attitude and thinking have changed greatly in rural India. In fact these factors have combined to change the ritualistic rural society into a dynamic society.
Traditionally, Hindu society has been caste ridden. Caste-based division has been prominently visible in rural India. The people of upper caste treated themselves superior to the people of lower caste. Discrimination against them was a commonplace event. People of upper caste did not eat or drink anything even touched by the lower caste people. Even they were not allowed to take water from the well used by the upper caste people. They are not allowed entrance in temples. Such unjust distinction based on caste, colour and community was widely prevalent in Indian society.
But things are rapidly changing now. People do not care tor any such distinction. There is an interdependence existence in society. There is a close interaction of people of different castes, creeds and religions, among them for various purposes. The outlook of the villagers has undergone sea change. They have begun to see things in broader context. This is a good sign.
The access of media has brought big changes in their life. Now they have realised the importance of education. They no longer hold back their girls from going to schools and colleges. They have begun to come out of the four walls of their homes. They have started sharing responsibility with their male counterpart. Naturally, it has a positive impact on society.
Agriculture, which is the mainstay of rural economy, is also being influenced by the winds of changes sweeping across various walks of life. It is no longer left to the mercy of Nature. The agrarian reforms, increasing application of science and technology are bringing sea changes in the faces of villages. Availability of safe drinking water and electricity has made the life of the villagers easier and comfortable. Mass media has also contributed a lot to change the life of the villages. Now rituals and superstitions have begun fading away. People have begun to see things in the light of reason and logic.
There is a great awakening in the villagers. They are now politically and economically aware and sound. There is no longer casteism in rural society. These changes are likely to have good impact on overall progress of India.