Agra/Mathura, January 29: The contribution of James Augustus Hickey, an Irishman, who laid the foundation and parameters of jourlism in India through the columns of his weekly Bengal Gazette, the first Indian newspaper published from Kolkata on January 29, 1779, was recalled by jourlism students and senior scribes of the Taj city at a function. Jourlists said it was difficult to ignore the contribution of Hickey, whose anti–establishment writings and what some call “scandalous outbursts against the rulers of the day”, won him many admirers. Ram Kishore, author and activist from Lucknow, said students of jourlism can feel inspired by reading about this man who laid the foundation of jourlism in our country. Free press in India owes a debt of gratitude to James Augustus Hickey, the man who almost single–handedly faced the might of the British Empire in India to espouse the cause of free expression and reining in of the government by the voice of the people, exposing the actions of the government, and making public the dirty deals.
Former president of the Agra Press Club Rajiv Saxe said: “We should not forget Indian jourlism’s baptism by fire and struggle. The media has to be sensitized and made aware of its immense responsibilities. The likes of Hickey beckon us to strive towards that end.” Senior jourlist Hemendra Chaturvedi said: “Hickey seems much more relevant today. The crusader and fighter that Hickey was, remains an inspiration to the new generation of jourlists.” (IANS)