Periodical publications like newspapers and magazines play an important role in the development of any language and its literature. Newspapers, in general, have a greater appeal to the public as these are published with greater frequency and are shorter in content. Also, as these cover matters concerning the land and the people.
The first Odia newspaper, a weekly in tabloid format, Utkal Dipika appeared in 1866 – a time of socio-political tumult in Odisha. A devastating famine was raging through the region and the language was facing an issue of survival. Utkal Dipika set about voicing the people’s concern about these and setting the tone for a feeling of nationalism among the Odia people. It not only became a success but went on to being among the longest running publications during the pre-independence era. In addition to meeting it journalistic role it contributed immensely to the development of Odia prose writing and to public debate on the current issues.
There were three earlier periodicals in Odia language published between 1849 and 1863, all being monthlies. But these did not survive for long. Several other periodicals, more in the nature of weekly newspapers, followed Utkal Dipika and continued for varying periods of time. Only two other major newspapers – Balasore Sambadbahika (1868) and Sambalpur Hiteishini (1889) – continued for some noticeable time.
During this period magazines carrying longer articles were not common. Perhaps because of this the newspapers often carried longer features along with smaller news items. This helped in attracting a larger readership and also helped in reading habit among the general public.
Clicking on the ‘Newspaper Index‘ button on the left will open a new page listing the digitized Odia newspapers available on this website. Details of the individual items as well as links for opening/downloading these can also be found there. published during the pre-independence period.