Asia’s Oldest Surviving Newspaper Turned 198

While world over print media has been showing signs of fatigue and have been closing down, Mumbai based Gujarati daily, Mumbai Samachar is celebrating its 198th anniversary this month. The daily newspaper is marking the occasion by hosting month long celebrations which includes a charity event, a cultural event in Mumbai and a series of activities across the city aimed at promoting the Gujarati language. It will also use the occasion to revamp the publication by introducing twenty new writers.

Established in 1822, Mumbai Samachar followed Bengali newspaper Samachar Darpan, launched four years earlier, to become the second language newspaper to ever have been published in India. Named Moombina Samachar, it was a weekly for the first ten years, then a bi-weekly and since 1855 a daily in the current format,” says Nilesh Dave, Editor, as he traces the newspaper’s history. 

It is a matter of immense pride for all of us at Mumbai Samachar to reach this milestone. There are very few publications across the world that have managed to survive for two hundred years and continued to stay relevant. What is also notable is that unlike other publications that have moved away from their mandate, we continue to maintain the policy established by our founders” adds Nilesh Dave.

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With a circulation of one hundred and fifty thousand, Mumbai Samachar is one the leading regional newspapers of India read by a large section of Gujarati speaking people. As part of its anniversary celebrations, it will distribute oxygen masks to traffic constables of Mumbai, one of the most polluted cities in the world. It will also start free Gujarati classes across Mumbai in a bid to promote the language.

Nilesh also says, “While most newspapers have opted for one advertiser on the front page, we follow our traditional practice of having numerous small advertisements. Also, our editorial policy has remained unchanged. We consciously avoid sensationalizing news and maintain sobriety and independence of views, objectively reporting events in a fair and honest manner“.

Mumbai Samachar was founded by Fardunjee Marzban and is currently owned by the Cama family.