Class X History Chapter 7 | Print Culture And Modern World | Textbook Questions And Answers

Here are answers for textbook questions from the chapter Print Culture And Modern World.

1. Give reasons for the following:

(a) Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295

The Chinese invented the Woodblock print around sixth century. Marco Polo brought this technology to Europe in 1295. He had spent several years in China and when he went back to Italy, he brought this printing technology with him.

(b) Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of it.

Martin Luther challenged the orthodox rituals and practices of the Roman Catholic Church through the publication of his protestant ideas. He authored 95 theses criticizing several practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The printing technology made it possible to immediately reproduce his writings in vast numbers. When his writings became widely read, it led to a division within the church and thus the Protestant Reformation began. 5000 copies of his translation of the New Testament were sold within a few days of their publication. Of course, this would not have been possible without print. Hence, Martin Luther favoured the print culture said that printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.

(c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an index of prohibited books from the mid-sixteenth century

There were many dissenting voices within the Roman Catholic Community since the mid-sixteenth century. People wrote several books that interpreted the God and creation in their own way.  The Church banned those books and started keeping a record of those books. It was called the Index of Prohibited Books.

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(d) Gandhiji said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of press and freedom of association.

Gandhiji felt that the liberty of speech, liberty of press and freedom of association were important means to express and cultivate public opinion. Therefore he said that the fight for Swaraj was a fight for liberty of speech, press and freedom of association.

2. Write short notes to show what you know about:

(a) The Gutenberg Press

The first printing press was developed by Johan Gutenberg in 1430s. It was a more developed form of the olive and wine presses. Gutenberg had perfected his printing system by 1448. He used lead moulds for casting the metal types for the letters of the alphabet. Bible was the first book he printed. It took him three years to publish 180 copies of Bible. However, at that time, this was nothing short of an achievement.

(b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book

Erasmus was a Catholic reformer and Latin scholar. He criticized the practice of printing books. He believed that printed books were stupid, ignorant, raving, irreligious, scandalous and seditious. In his opinion, such books devaluated valuable books.

(c) The Vernacular Press Act

The Vernacular Press Act was modeled on the Irish Press Laws. Passed in 1878, this law allowed the government to censor editorials and reports in the vernacular press. If a newspaper published a report that is deemed seditious by the government, they would be warned. If they refused to pay heed to the warning, the press was seized and the printing machinery was confiscated. Thus, it completely violated the freedom of expression.

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3. What did the spread of print culture in nineteenth century India mean to:

(a) Women

When the print culture spread in India in the 19th century, women received more opportunities to read and learn. Liberal families were in favour of educating their girl children. However, conservative Hindus believed that educated girls were more likely to be widowed. Muslim families were also against educating girls because they feared that educated girls would read Urdu romances and become corrupted. Interestingly, this caused many girls and women to rebel. When books started becoming more easily available, many of the oppressed girls and women started reading and learning in secrecy. Some literate women even started writing stories and autobiographies. Overall, the print culture in India helped spread a sense of self-reliance among Indian women.

(b) The Poor

The print culture made books available at cheap prices and thus benefitted poor people. The publication of cheap books allowed people to read more and more. In the early 19th century, public libraries were also set up to give people more access to books and knowledge. Encouraged by social reformers, people also started setting up their libraries. Some of them even wrote books. Chote or Bade Ka Sawal, for example, was a book written and published by a mill worker called Kashibaba.

(c) Reformers

Indian reformers of the 19th century used printing technology as the most efficient means of spreading their reformist ideas and drawing attention to unethical issues. They began publishing newspapers in both English and various Indian languages to create awareness about social evils like widow immolation, child marriage, Brahmanical priesthood, idolatry and monotheism. Thus they used the print culture as a weapon to attack the religious orthodoxy and social evils.

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