NCERT CBSE Class 10 History Chapter “Print Culture and Modern World” Notes Chapter 5 

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NCERT CBSE Class 10 History Chapter Print Culture and Modern World Notes Chapter 5

NCERT CBSE Class 10 History Chapter “Print Culture and Modern World” Notes Chapter 5 delves into the evolution of print technology, tracing its origins in East Asia, spreading to Europe, and eventually reaching India. 

The chapter highlights the profound effects of print on society, culture, and daily life. These notes, crafted by expert educators, aim to provide students with a thorough understanding of the chapter’s key concepts, aiding in effective board exam preparation. 

The notes are designed to be engaging and easy to grasp, ensuring students can remember the material for longer periods.

Download NCERT CBSE Class 10 History Chapter ¨Print Culture and Modern World¨ Notes Chapter 5
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The First Printed Books

China, Japan, and Korea pioneered early print technology using hand printing. From AD 594, China printed books by rubbing paper, folding, and stitching both sides. China dominated printing for centuries, producing civil service exam texts and trade information. Print expanded beyond scholars; leisure reading grew. Women published poetry and plays. Western methods arrived in the late 19th century.

Print in Japan

Buddhist missionaries introduced hand-printing from China to Japan around AD 768-770. The Diamond Sutra, AD 868, is Japan’s oldest book, with text and woodcut illustrations. Visual prints showed urban culture in the late 19th century. Libraries and stores had diverse hand-printed books on women and music.

Print Comes to Europe

When Marco Polo returned to Europe after exploring China, he brought back the knowledge of woodblock printing. This technology soon spread across Europe. As the demand for books grew, booksellers started exporting books to various countries. 

However, handwritten manuscripts couldn’t keep up with the increasing demand for books. To meet this demand, Europe began using woodblocks to print textiles, playing cards, and religious pictures with simple texts. In the 1430s, Johann Gutenberg developed the first known printing press.

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Gutenberg and the Printing Press

Gutenberg, skilled in polishing stones, used this expertise to create his innovative printing press. The first book printed using this new system was the Bible. 

Although this new technology emerged, hand-produced books didn’t disappear entirely. Books for the wealthy still had blank spaces for decorative elements. Between 1450 and 1550, printing presses appeared in most European countries, marking a shift from hand printing to mechanical printing and leading to the print revolution.

The Print Revolution and Its Impact

The Print Revolution was not just a new way to produce books; it transformed people’s lives, changing their relationship with information, knowledge, institutions, and authorities.

A New Reading Public

The cost of books dropped due to the print revolution, flooding the market with books and reaching a growing readership. This created a new culture of reading. Previously, only the elite read books while common people listened to sacred texts being read out. Before printing, books were expensive. 

The transition wasn’t simple since only literate people could read books. Printers started publishing popular ballads and folk tales with illustrations for those who couldn’t read. Oral culture thus entered print, and printed materials were shared orally.

Religious Debates and the Fear of Print

Print introduced new debates and discussions. Not everyone welcomed printed books; many feared they could spread rebellious and irreligious thoughts. In 1517, Martin Luther, a religious reformer, wrote Ninety-Five Theses criticizing the Roman Catholic Church’s practices. The printed version of his text led to a split in the Church and started the Protestant Reformation.

Print and Dissent

In the sixteenth century, Menocchio read local books and reinterpreted the Bible’s message, angering the Roman Catholic Church. He was tried twice and eventually executed. From 1558, the Roman Church maintained an Index of Prohibited Books.

The Reading Mania

Literacy rates rose in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As schools spread, people wanted more books. Reading for entertainment also became popular. Books served many purposes and interests. In the early 18th century, periodical press combined current affairs with entertainment. 

Journals and newspapers covered wars, trade, and developments. Isaac Newton’s discoveries were published, influencing scientifically-minded readers.

‘Tremble, therefore, tyrants of the world!’

By the mid-eighteenth century, people saw books as tools for spreading progress and enlightenment. Novelist Louise-Sebastien Mercier proclaimed that the printing press was powerful and would overthrow despotism, warning tyrants to tremble before the writers.

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Print Culture and the French Revolution

Historians believe print culture set the stage for the French Revolution. It popularized Enlightenment ideas, created a culture of dialogue and debate, and criticised royalty. Print spread new ideas and allowed people to think differently, even if it didn’t directly shape their minds.

The Nineteenth Century

In the 19th century, children, women, and workers became new readers, adding to mass literacy in Europe.

Children, Women, and Workers

Primary education became compulsory in the late 19th century. In 1857, a children’s press was set up in France. The Grimm Brothers collected traditional folk tales in Germany. Women became significant readers and writers. Magazines and manuals for women were published. Lending libraries educated white-collar workers, artisans, and the lower-middle class.

Further Innovations

By the late 18th century, presses were made of metal. The 19th century saw many printing technology innovations. Richard M. perfected the power-driven cylindrical press for newspapers.

Offset printing, capable of printing six colours at once, was developed. Electrically operated presses and other advancements followed in the 20th century.

India and the World of Print

Manuscripts Before the Age of Print

India had a rich tradition of handwritten manuscripts in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and various vernacular languages. These were copied on palm leaves or handmade paper. Manuscript production continued even after print’s introduction. Manuscripts were expensive and fragile. In Bengal, students learned to write, often becoming literate without reading any text.

Print Comes to India

In the mid-sixteenth century, the first printing press arrived in Goa with Portuguese missionaries. Catholic priests printed the first Tamil book in 1579 in Cochin, and the first Malayalam book in 1713.

The English press grew later in India, despite the East India Company importing presses in the late 17th century. James Augustus Hickey edited the Bengal Gazette, a weekly magazine. By the late 18th century, several newspapers and journals were in print.

Religious Reform and Public Debates

Religious issues intensified in the early 19th century. People criticized existing practices and campaigned for reform, while others defended tradition. Printed tracts and newspapers spread new ideas, sparking debates. Reformers like Rammohun Roy published newspapers to share their views. The Deoband Seminary published fatwas guiding Muslim readers on Islamic doctrines.

Print encouraged reading religious texts, especially in vernacular languages, leading to discussions and debates. Newspapers helped create pan-Indian identities by conveying news across the country.

New Forms of Publication

As more people read, new types of writing emerged. In Europe, novels were developed, and in India, new literary forms like lyrics, short stories, and essays became popular. By the late 19th century, cheap calendars, caricatures, and cartoons became common, influencing popular ideas about modernity, tradition, religion, politics, society, and culture.

Women and Print

Women’s reading increased significantly in middle-class homes. Schools for women were established in cities. Journals published writings by women and advocated for women’s education. 

Despite conservative fears, social reforms and novels sparked interest in women’s lives. Women’s journals became popular in the early 20th century. In Calcutta, Battala became a hub for printing popular books, which were often illustrated. Pedlars distributed these publications to women at home.

Print and the Poor People

Cheap books were sold in markets, and public libraries were set up in cities and towns. In the late 19th century, caste discrimination appeared in printed tracts and essays. Factory workers, lacking education, wrote little about their experiences.

 In 1938, Kashibaba published “Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal” to highlight the links between caste and class exploitation. Bangalore cotton mill workers established libraries in the 1930s to educate themselves.

Print and Censorship

Under the East India Company, censorship was not a major concern. The Calcutta Supreme Court passed regulations to control press freedom, and in 1835, Governor-General Bentinck revised press laws. Thomas Macaulay’s new rules restored press freedom. After the 1857 revolt, press freedom changed. 

The Vernacular Press Act of 1878 gave the government extensive censorship powers. Nationalist newspapers grew in number, spreading their message despite government attempts to control them. Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s sympathetic writings about revolutionaries in his Kesari led to his imprisonment in 1908.

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Q.1. What caused the Print Revolution?

Ans: The Print Revolution was caused by the widespread adoption of the printing press, which enabled the rapid dissemination of information and ideas across societies.

Q.2. What were the years of the French Revolution?

Ans: The French Revolution occurred between 1789 and 1799.

Q.3. What does censorship mean?

Ans: Censorship refers to the restriction or suppression of speech, public communication, or information, usually by governmental or institutional authorities.

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