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Bhau Mahajan

Born in Raigad District of Maharashtra, Govind Vitthal Kunte, alias Bhau Mahajan (1815-90) was the first full-time professional editor and journalist in Marathi vernacular.

Bhau Mahajan received his education from the Elphinstone Institute. He believed in the importance of widening the base of the vernacular-literate public. In the 1840s, Mahajan’s efforts helped create a small, autonomous reading public in Marathi. He started and was the editor of two weekly papers -Prabhakar (1841) and Dhumketu (1853), a periodical Dnyan Darshan, and an independent press (1843). The man held a balanced and unorthodox editorial style and aspired to create a rational vernacular social discourse based on the idea of the ‘common good’. Through his papers, he promoted the transmission of varied points of view and reasonable criticism. Mahajan ascribed the growing impoverishment of India to its economic drain and Hindu social obscurantism. He criticised the British Rule with utmost vigour for its immense exploitation and drain of the country, which he stated was what built the prosperity of Britain.

From the point of view of the Freedom Struggle, Bhau Mahajan’s contributions bear specific value in creating a Marathi reading public that could critically engage with and reflect upon the changes introduced by British Colonial Rule in India.

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Map showing the location of Raigad District in Maharashtra