Sunday, 6 November 2016

Gandhi- The Great Communicator and Journalist

"Gandhi- The Great Communicator and Journalist

Apart from being a national leader and social reformer, Gandhi was a great communicator. More than any one else, he recognized that communication is the most effective tool to shape opinion and mobilize popular support. He was successful because he had a latent skill in communication that surfaced in South Africa where he had gone initially to set up practice as a lawyer. The practice of communication started by him in South Africa gave him the clue to rally millions of his countrymen when he returned to India.
Gandhi was associated with six journals, for two of which he was the editor. His first paper, 'Indian Opinion' was started in South Africa. In order to ventilate the grievances of Indians and mobilize public opinion in their favour, Gandhi started writing and giving interviews to newspapers ,He focused on open letters and Letters to Editor, but soon realized that occasional writings and the hospitality of newspapers were inadequate for the political campaign he had launched. He needed a mouthpiece to reach out to the people; so in June 1903 he launched Indian Opinion. It served the purpose of a weekly newsletter which disseminated the news of the week among the Indian community. It became an important instrument of education. Through the columns of the newspaper Gandhi tried to educate the readers about sanitation, self-discipline and good citizenship. How important the journal was to Gandhi is seen from his own statement in his biography, My Experiments with Truth:
'Indian Opinion... was a part of my life. Week after week I poured out my soul in its columns and expounded the principles and practice of satyagraha as I understood it. During 10 years, that is until 1914, excepting the intervals of my enforced rest in prison there was hardly an issue of 'Indian Opinion' without an article from me. I cannot recall a word in these articles set down without thought or deliberation or word of conscious exaggeration, or anything merely to please. Indeed the journal became for me a training in self restraint and for friends a medium through which to keep in touch with my thoughts."
The critics found very little to which they could object. In fact, the tone of 'Indian Opinion' compelled the critics to put a curb on his palm.
Gandhi launched Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act and the massacre in Jallianwala Bagh. He learnt in South Africa how important the press and public opinion could be in politics and had taught himself how to use the written word most effectively.
Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forgo. - M. K. Gandhi
The two journals 'Young India' and 'Navjivan' were used by him to ventilate his views and to educated the public on Satyagraha . In 1933 Gandhi started 'Harijan', 'Harijanbandhu', 'Harijansevak' in English, Gujarati and Hindi, respectively. These newspapers were the vehicles of his crusade against untouchability and poverty in rural areas. These papers published no advertisements even then they enjoyed wide circulation. His note of defiance and sacrifice gave a new stimulus to the evolution of press as a weapon of satyagraha."

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