At the turn of the twentieth century, the city of Allahabad emerged as a significant site of efflorescence in print culture. The city’s most prolific publishing house during this period, the Indian Press (est. 1884) and its founder, the enterprising print capitalist, Chintamoni Ghosh (1844 –1928), are today remembered as champions of Hindi, and the city is similarly viewed as the center of Hindi culture and Hindu sacred geography. Through an analysis of the Indian Press and through a brief reading of select journals in Hindi, Bangla, English, Urdu, this presentation demonstrates the existence of heterogenous print culture in the city and explores the meaning of multilingualism in this period. What was the role played by middle-class educated and professional migrants in shaping the city’s culture? Was the modern instantiation of multilingualism in Allahabad the same as its pre-colonial counterpart? In tracking opinion-building in journals of this multilingual milieu, what do we learn about the contestation of ideas and values in the public sphere of this period?
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