The Tribune of India

The Tribune was founded in 1881 by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is today the largest selling English daily newspaper in northern India. Originally published from Lahore, Punjab, it has since moved to Chandigarh and now has offices in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, New Delhi, and Mumbai. It is owned and operated by Tribune Trust Publications, which also publishes the Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune newspapers.

The newspaper began as a weekly, but soon expanded into a nationalist daily of tremendous power and prestige. It was bold and fearless, and refused to be cowed down by the British. Its leading articles shook the Empire and brilliantly evoked the idea of the poor Indian oppressed by the greedy Englishman.

Its editorials were of great substance, and the paper grew rapidly and became an essential part of the life of upper India. It championed causes that were of common interest, and often raised the voices of the people against their governments and leaders.

Dyal Singh had a number of Bengali Brahmo friends who helped him in the work. They gave him the idea of a paper which claimed to represent the whole of Upper India, and took up issues which were of concern to the people all over the country. It was a newspaper which had an international outlook, and a wide readership outside the province.

He had a great deal of confidence in his readers and was not afraid to make a stand on matters of national importance. He was a firm believer in the doctrine of Indian nationalism, which he believed could unite a tangled, fractured society. He also regarded the education of the people as a crucial issue, and urged the spread of English education throughout the province.

In fact, the first edition of The Tribune was dedicated to this cause. It carried about 25 articles and strongly worded editorials, which shook down the Leitner argument on oriental learning and built a strong public opinion in favour of the Sardar’s stand.

This was the beginning of a series of nationalistic movements in Punjab. It was the time when the people were beginning to realize that they could not save themselves by squabbling over differences of religion, caste and language. They needed to get on with the task of creating a modern India, and this was one way in which they could do so.

A nationalist newspaper was a necessity for the survival of a modern India, and this was what Dyal Singh had in mind when he started The Tribune. He had a firm belief that if India was to survive as a free country, it must be a unified nation.

He was of the view that this should be done through the spread of knowledge in all its aspects, and this he did by establishing a college, a public library, and a national newspaper. He also fought for the re-establishment of the Punjab National Bank, and made an effort to create a sense of unity among his people by encouraging the emergence of an Indian leadership which would bring about social, economic and cultural reforms.

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