Wiring the Nation: Telecommunication, Newspaper-Reportage, and Nation Building in British India, 1850-1930

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9780199472178: Wiring the Nation: Telecommunication, Newspaper-Reportage, and Nation Building in British India, 1850-1930

News today is understood as the most recent information available from places all over the world. It was the telegraph which gave birth to this understanding by profoundly transforming the global press landscape at the turn of the nineteenth century. Select information bought from agencies like Reuters, Wolff, Havas, and Associated Press made their way into newspapers--'news' became a commodity and journalism as we know it was born.

In British India, after the Great Rebellion of 1857-8 and with the end of the Mughal dynasty, the concept of a shared cultural community was lost. In the decades that followed, telegraphically disseminated news played a leading role in shaping an all-India public sphere, in the process resurrecting the idea of a unified nation--an idea that formed the basis of the anti-colonial struggle launched soon after.

As Wiring the Nation traces the social, cultural, and political consequences of the telegraph in colonial India, this new mode of communication emerges not merely as a technological marvel, but also as a force with the power to influence the imagination of an entire nation.

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About the Author:


Michael Mann is Professor in the Department of South Asian History and Society at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. His areas of interest include South Asian economic and social history, environmental history, and urban history.

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