This exhibition presents two episodes in 20th century Indian history when newspapers expressed the emerging citizenship of protest by the freedom movement in India.

Press articles and leaflets - sometimes read out loud to a group of people then destroyed because of censorship, sometimes consumed individually- acted as the main vehicle for the public communication of ideas.

Some journals were used as temporary acts of defiance to mobilise support for change. Nationalist leaders and activists also aimed for coverage of protest in the existing colonial newspapers in order to influence the climate of opinion in support for change.

A variety of newspapers, despite sometimes only having small circulations, still became part of the changing economic and political landscape that they were reporting on.

This exhibition focuses on two little known aspects of press and protest - one in Allahabad, United Provinces (Uttar Pradesh) in British India, one in the French territory of Pondicherry (Tamil Nadu).

The ancient and sacred city of Allahabad was the home town of the Nehru family and also the base until 1933 for a long established colonial daily -The Pioneer. In 1928 a new editor -F.W. Wilson - was appointed who sympathised with the cause of Indian independence. For a short while - until he was removed - Wilson gave emerging citizenship a small window of publicity. This exhibition tells the story of that episode.

French territories were ruled directly from Paris, with an unfair voting system and without basic civil liberties such as the right to form trade unions. Newspapers were heavily censored, but Tamil and French publications still acted as a means of either galvanising or opposing popular support first for textile strikers fighting for their wages and rights and then for calls for democracy and freedom.

This is the story of how newspapers acted as a public voice for mass protest by ordinary people fighting to organise themselves as citizens.  


Press and Protest - A Tale of Two Cities



With thanks to: 


The British Library


The French Institute, Pondicherry

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

Archives Nationale de France d'Outre Mer, Aix en Provence

The Indian Express Newspaper Group

United Province State Archives, Lucknow

Allahabad Regional Archives 

National Library, Calcutta 

National Archives of India, New Delhi

Bibliotheque Nationale de France

National Archives of India, Pondicherry

Research: Professor Jane Chapman (Principal Investigator), Professor John Tulloch, Piers Toby Clarke, Kate Allison.