How does Communication in West Bengal? – The State Of West Bengal has a well-developed communication system be it print media or mass communications. Digital technology has also added to the connectivity of the state efficiently.
West Bengal is a pioneer in the field of journalism, press and publications. It has a long drawn history of print media beginning from the time of the British era.
(I). PRINT MEDIA IN WEST BENGAL
It consists of newspapers and magazines. They are an important means to connect the masses. These are as follows:
➢ NEWSPAPERS IN WEST BENGAL BEFORE 1947
The first newspaper to be published in India was from Calcutta (presently Kolkata) ‘The Bengal Gazette’ on 29th January 1780 by James Augustus Hicky. The newspaper was also called Hicky’s Gazette and Calcutta General Advertiser. After this other newspapers came up, like Calcutta Gazette (1784), The Bengal Journal (1785), Calcutta Chronicle (1811), etc.
The first non-English newspaper in India was published in Bengali language and it was Samachar Darpan published on 23rd May 1818 from Kolkata. It was printed and published by Serampore Press near Kolkata. It started monthly but soon became a weekly newspaper due to its enhanced popularity.
Several other newspapers followed Sambad Kaumadi (1822) under the patronage of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sambad Pravakar (1839), Tattobodhini (1843), Som Prakash (1851), etc. Sambad Pravakar was the first Bengali daily newspaper.
Table: Important Newspapers in West Bengal before 1947
|Mirat-ul-Akhbaar||12th April 1822||Urdu||Under the patronage of Raja Rammohan Roy|
|Udant Martand||30th May 1826||Hindi||First Hindi language newspaper published in India from Calcutta by Pt Jugal Kishore Shukla|
|Bengalee||1862||English||Started by Surendranath Banerjee and Girish Chandra Ghose|
|Amrita Bazar Patrika||20th February 1868||Bengali, English||Started by Sisir Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh. Discontinued in 1991|
|Sulabh Samachar||1870||Bengali||Started by Keshab Chander Sen and Uma Nath Gupta|
|Ananda Bazar Patrika||1922||Bengali||Started by Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, Prafulla Sarkar|
|Jugantar||1937||Bengali||Started by the Management of Amrita Bazar Patrika|
➢ NEWSPAPERS IN WEST BENGAL AFTER 1947
After partition, a large chunk of publications and readers were lost to East Bengal. New publications came up in Kolkata like Loksevak (1948). Many newspapers that were started before 1947 continued to be published from Kolkata, such as The Statesman, Amrita Bajar Patrika, Anandabazar Patrika, The Times of India, etc.
The Statesman is the oldest English newspaper (was started in 1875 from Kolkata headquarters) that is still in circulation. At present, the five most-read newspapers in West Bengal in descending order of their readership are Anand Bazar Patrika (largest circulation in West Bengal), Bartaman, Sangbad Pratidin, Ganashakti and Aajkal.
Table: Major Newspapers in West Bengal at Present
|Ananda Bajar Patrika||1922||Bengali||Sister Concerns-The Telegraph (1982) and Ebela (Ebela was discontinued on 17 December 2018).|
|Ganashakti||1967||Bengali||Presents views of the Communist Party of India|
|Aajkaal||1981||Bengali||Published from Kolkata and Siliguri|
|Bartamaan||1984||Bengali||Published from Kolkata, Siliguri, Bardhaman and Midnapore|
|Sangbad Pratidin||1992||Bengali||Published from Kolkata|
|Uttarbanga Sambad||19 May 1980||Bengali||Published from Siliguri (best selling newspaper in North Bengal)|
|Himalaya Darpan||2000||Nepali||Published from Siliguri|
|Ei Samay||15 October 2012||Bengali||Published from Kolkata by The Times Group (The Times of India).|
➢ MAGAZINES IN WEST BENGAL
The first magazine The Oriental Magazine or Calcutta Amusement was published in India from Kolkata in 1785. After this many other magazines started publishing in English and Bengali. Some of them are discussed below:
■ Sandesh: It was first published in 1913 by Upendra Kishore Ray. It is a children’s magazine that is still in continuation. It is published in the Bengali language.
■ Sabujpatra: It was started in 1914, this magazine promoted new literary ideals and a script of freethinking. Pramatha Chawdhuri was its first editor.
■ Kallol: It was started in 1923. Prominent authors like Kazi Nazrul Islam, Premendra Mitra and Buddhadeb Basu contributed to this magazine. With this magazine, the Bengali Little Magazine Movement started. This movement influenced experimental poetry, modernist thoughts and new ideas of free-thinking that were published in the magazine. Some of them were Uttara (1925) and Purbasha (1936).
■ Krittibas: It was started in 1953, it is a Bengali poetry magazine that is still in circulation. Famous writers like Sunil Gangopadhyay, Ananda Bagchi, Shakti Chattopadhyay, etc were its editors.
■ Kaurab: This magazine was started in 1970 in English and Bengali. The print version is bi-annual while the web version is tri-annual.
At present, a large number of magazines are published from Kolkata and different parts of West Bengal such as Desh, Sananda, Anandalok, Saptahik Bartaman, Unishkuri, Sukhi-Grihakon, etc.
(II). MASS COMMUNICATION IN WEST BENGAL
Mass communication is the best means of far-reaching effects on the society and culture of a place. Mass communication in West Bengal plays an important role.
Sources of mass communication like radio and television are as follows:
Kolkata was the 2nd city after Mumbai to have a radio station on 26th August 1927. The Indian Broadcasting Company managed the radio station and it was a private company operated by British India. On 8th June 1936, the British Government took over the company and renamed it “All India Radio” (AIR). At present, there are 15 stations of All India Radio in West Bengal and many sub-stations. They are as follows:
|03||Basanti||South 24 Parganas|
|05||Cooch Behar||Cooch Behar|
|06, 07, 08||Darjeeling, Kurseong, Siliguri||Darjeeling|
|09, 10||Farakka, Murshidabad||Murshidabad|
The Eastern regional service of All India Radio broadcasts FM Rainbow, FM Gold, Akashvani Maitree and Vividh Bharati from Kolkata. Apart from the government radio station, there are many private radio stations such as Radio Mirchi, Radio Meow, Radio Mishti, etc operating from West Bengal. There are three radio stations operating within 03 campuses, they are Jadavpur University, Netaji Subhas Open University, and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute at Kolkata.
On 9th August 1975, The television era was started with the setting up of Doordarshan Bangla at Golf Greens in Kolkata. This station telecasts 05 programs likes Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Nepali and Santhali. Bengali telecast DD Bangla also has studios in two locations Shantiniketan and Jalpaiguri.
From June 1984, Kolkata relayed colour transmission. At present, a number of private channels such as ABP Ananda, ETV Bangla, Zee Bangla, Jalsha Movies, Aakash Aath, 24 Ghonta, etc are operating from West Bengal. Doordarshan and other private channels telecast Bangla programs in Bangladesh, the UK, Gulf countries, and other parts of the world. There are more than 15 satellite television channels operating in the state.
(III). POSTAL COMMUNICATION IN WEST BENGAL
Postal Communication plays a key role in the development of a state as it connects the remote regions and even the backward regions. West Bengal has a good network of post offices in the state that facilitates communication and connectivity even in the hilly areas and marshy lands. The state forms a major portal circle among the 23 portal circles of India and links postal connectivity to Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar islands.
➢ WEST BENGAL PORTAL CIRCLE
The portal circle in West Bengal is headed by Chief Post Master General. The circle is divided into 04 divisions or sub-heads. Each division includes a cluster of districts. These are as follows:
■ Division 1-Kolkata: It consists of Central, East, West, North and South Kolkata as well as the districts of Murshidabad, Birbhum, Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas.
■ Division 2-Kolkata: It consists of Hooghly, Bankura, Bardhaman, Purulia, East and West Midnapore and Howrah districts.
■ Division 3-Kolkata: It consists of Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Malda, North and South Dinajpur.
■ Division 4-Kolkata: This division is the headquarters of the postal division of Sikkim state and Andaman and Nicobar union territory along with few other regions of West Bengal.
➢ POST OFFICES IN WEST BENGAL
West Bengal has a dense network of post offices in the state. The Pincode starts with number 7 and the first two digits of all the Pincodes are 70, 71, 72, 73 and 74. The district with the highest number of post offices in West Midnapore (781) and the lowest is in East Midnapore.
■ General Past Office (GPO) Kolkata
The General Post Office (GPO) was constructed in 1868 with the help of architect Walter B Grenville at Kolkata is the Central Post Office of the city.
From starting the GPO building was a part of Fort William that was built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency in British India. The GPO also consists of a postal museum. Presently, the GPO is located at B.B.D Bagh (earlier known as Dalhousie Square) in Kolkata.
(IV). SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY IN WEST BENGAL
In the modern world connectivity through satellite technology by way of broadband services has become a major form of communication. Presently, through this technology, the Goverment of West Bengal runs various projects to connect people.
➢ WEST BENGAL ELECTRONICS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (WEBEL)
WEBEL was constituted in 1974 and it has the objective of developing the electronics industry.
■ WEBEL ISP: It was initiated in 2003 provides internet connectivity to Kolkata, its adjoining districts including rural Bengal.
■ MATIR KATHA: This is an agriculture-based portal that connects the farmers in rural Bengal to the new developments in agriculture. Information about many governmental schemes are given through it.
■ DIGITAL JAN SEVA KENDRA: To provide micro-level connectivity, the State Government in West Bengal have provided internet access to the Jan Seva Kendras running in
various districts. This has reduced the time of official procedures.
➢ WEST BENGAL STATE WIDE AREA NETWORK (WBSWAN)
It is a government intranet launched in 2001, that provides connectivity of data, voice and video communication facilities from Kolkata to all the district headquarters. WBSWAN connects all block headquarters, they are connected to district headquarters and all panchayats to blocks. This is a part of the e-governance initiative to connect the departments horizontally. It is funded by the State Government.
➢ GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS)
The state is implementing a Geographical Information System to provide satellite connectivity to all the areas. In this regard, implementation of GIS for Kalimpong, Kurseong, Pujali (South 24 Parganas) and Bidhan Nagar (North 24 Parganas) are completed.