Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the 200th-anniversary celebrations of Gujarati daily ‘Mumbai Samachar’ here on June 14. He will also release a special commemorative stamp to mark the newspaper reaching the landmark of two centuries of publication, Mumbai Samachar Editor Nilesh Dave told PTI.
PM Modi will interact with readers and employees of Mumbai Samachar, Mr Dave said. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will attend the event, he said, adding Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has also been invited.
The event will be held at the Jio World Centre in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex. There will also be an exhibition where visitors will be able to see a newspaper printing machine from the 18th century.
PM Modi will also release a book and video film on the 200-year journey of Mumbai Samachar, Mr Dave said.
Mumbai Samachar has seen through two pandemics, two world wars, and the growth of a city thriving in myriad avatars, from a textile and mercantile hub to a buzzing financial and film industry capital.
Mumbai Samachar’s director Hormusji Cama says that 20 years ago the newspaper conducted research and found that it is the oldest surviving publication in India and the fourth oldest in the world.
Bombay Samachar (as it was called then) started as a weekly in 1822 to primarily inform the readers about ship movements and commodities, and gradually evolved into a true city newspaper with a focus on trade that it is today.
Fardunjee Marzban, a Parsi scholar, started the publication four years after the Bengali newspaper Samachar Darpan was launched, to become the second non-English newspaper published in India. Then named Moombina Samachar, it was a weekly for the first 10 years, then a bi-weekly and has been a daily newspaper since 1855.
The paper exchanged several hands before the Cama family took over in 1933.
Cama Norton and Co. was a supplier of newsprint and ink to Mumbai Samachar, then owned by the Belgaumwala family. The Camas had approached the court against non-payment of arrears by Belgaumwalas and sought liquidation proceedings. The court instead asked Camas to take over the newspaper and salvage it, citing the livelihoods of employees that would be lost if the paper were to shut down. The Camas agreed.
Since then, the publication has steadily grown and today it boasts of the most advanced technologies available in the field of publishing.