Print Culture and Modern World: TBSE Class 10 Social (History)

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Get here the notes, questions, answers, textbook solutions, summary, extras, and PDF of TBSE (Tripura Board) Class 10 Social Science (History) Chapter 5 “Print Culture and Modern World.” However, the provided notes should only be treated as references, and the students are encouraged to make changes to them as they feel appropriate.

pile of books, illustrating TBSE Class 10 Social science chapter 5 Print Culture and Modern World


For centuries, silk, spices, and paper were traded from China to Europe along the Silk Route. Marco Polo brought back the knowledge of woodblock printing from China to Europe, which led to the production of cheaper printed books. As the demand for books increased, handwritten manuscripts were organized in new ways to meet the demand. However, copying manuscripts was expensive and time-consuming. Woodblock printing became popular in Europe by the early fifteenth century. Johann Gutenberg developed the first printing press in Strasbourg, Germany in the 1430s, which revolutionized the reproduction of texts by making it quicker and cheaper.

Johann Gutenberg, who grew up on an agricultural estate and had experience with wine and olive presses, adapted existing technology to create the printing press. He used moulds to cast metal types for the letters of the alphabet and by 1448, he perfected the system, printing the first book, the Bible. Printed books at first closely resembled handwritten manuscripts, with metal letters imitating ornamental handwritten styles, and space left for hand-painted illustrations. Printing presses were set up in most European countries in the hundred years between 1450 and 1550, leading to a print revolution that saw the production of 20 million printed books in the second half of the fifteenth century and about 200 million copies in the sixteenth century.

The access to books through print created a new culture of reading which allowed for a wider reach of information among the common people. Before print, reading was limited to the elites and knowledge was transferred orally through storytelling. However, the transition to print was not easy since literacy rates were low. Publishers began to produce cheap printed books that included popular ballads and folk tales with illustrations. Even those who couldn’t read could enjoy listening to these stories being read out loud. As a result, the line between oral and reading cultures became blurred, and the hearing and reading publics became intermingled.

The invention of print allowed for the wide circulation of ideas and facilitated debate and discussion. However, some people were apprehensive of the effects of the printed word, fearing that it could spread rebellious and irreligious thoughts. The religious reformer Martin Luther’s Ninety Five Theses, which challenged the Roman Catholic Church, was widely circulated and led to the Protestant Reformation. Print and popular religious literature stimulated many distinctive individual interpretations of faith. However, the Roman Church imposed severe controls over publishers and booksellers and maintained an Index of Prohibited Books to repress heretical ideas. Print also facilitated the circulation of literature that questioned the existing social order and led to the growth of hostile sentiments against the monarchy. While print helped the spread of ideas, people did not read just one kind of literature, and they interpreted things their own way. Print did not directly shape their minds but opened up the possibility of thinking differently.

The development of printing technology and the increasing demand for books and other printed material led to significant changes in the publishing industry and the way people read and consumed information. The availability of cheap and mass-produced books allowed for a wider distribution of knowledge and information, and contributed to the rise of literacy rates in many parts of the world.

The production of school textbooks became critical for the publishing industry with the introduction of compulsory primary education in the late nineteenth century. Children became an important category of readers, and a children’s press was established in France in 1857. The press published new works as well as old fairy tales and folk tales, edited to remove unsuitable content.

Women also became important as readers and writers, with the rise of penny magazines and the publication of novels in the nineteenth century. Lending libraries provided a means for educating white-collar workers, artisans, and lower-middle-class people, and self-educated working-class people wrote political tracts and autobiographies in large numbers.

The development of new printing technologies, such as the power-driven cylindrical press, offset press, and electrically operated presses, transformed the appearance of printed texts and increased printing speed and efficiency. Publishers continuously developed new strategies to sell their products, including serializing novels, introducing cheap series, and selling cheap paperback editions during times of economic hardship.

India had a rich tradition of handwritten manuscripts in various languages, including Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and vernacular languages. Manuscripts were copied on palm leaves or handmade paper, sometimes with beautiful illustrations, and were preserved by being pressed between wooden covers or sewn together. However, manuscripts were expensive and not widely used in everyday life, and many people became literate without ever reading any texts.

Printing first came to India with Portuguese missionaries in the mid-sixteenth century, and by the early 18th century, Tamil and Malayalam books had been printed by Catholic priests. The first English language press in India did not emerge until the late 18th century, with James Augustus Hickey’s Bengal Gazette, a weekly magazine that included advertisements and gossip about the East India Company’s senior officials in India. The publication of the Bengal Gazette and other critical newspapers was seen as a threat by the colonial government, which encouraged the publication of officially sanctioned newspapers to counter the flow of information that damaged the image of the government. In the late 18th century, Indians began to publish their own newspapers, including the weekly Bengal Gazette brought out by Gangadhar Bhattacharya, who was close to Rammohun Roy.

During the 19th century, India underwent significant changes, with various religious groups confronting these changes in different ways. The resulting debates were carried out in public and through printed tracts and newspapers, which both spread new ideas and shaped the nature of the debate. These debates concerned topics such as widow immolation, monotheism, Brahmanical priesthood, and idolatry. Rammohun Roy published the Sambad Kaumudi in Bengal in 1821, and the Hindu orthodoxy commissioned the Samachar Chandrika to oppose his opinions. Meanwhile, the ulama in north India were concerned about the collapse of Muslim dynasties and used cheap lithographic presses to publish religious newspapers and tracts. In addition, numerous Muslim sects and seminaries emerged with different interpretations of faith. Among Hindus, print encouraged the reading of religious texts, with the first printed edition of the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas appearing in Calcutta in 1810. Religious texts were able to reach a wider audience and encourage discussions and controversies among different religions.

Printed materials also connected communities and people in different parts of India, creating pan-Indian identities. Newspapers conveyed news from one place to another, and vernacular editions of religious texts were printed and distributed cheaply, enabling the faithful to read them easily and to read them out to large groups of illiterate men and women.

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Textual questions and answers

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1. Give reasons for the following:

a) Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1296.

Answer: Woodblock printing technology was brought to Europe by Marco Polo in 1295. This technology then spread to other parts of Europe and gradually became more popular. It is likely that woodblock printing only came to Europe after 1296 due to the time it took for the technology to spread and become popular.

b) Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of

Answer: Martin Luther was a religious reformer and was in favour of print because it allowed his writings to be reproduced in vast numbers and read widely. This helped spread his ideas and lead to the Protestant Reformation. Luther was deeply grateful to print and said, “Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.”

c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an index of prohibited books from the mid-sixteenth century.

Answer: The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an index of prohibited books from the mid-sixteenth century due to the growing popularity of printed books. This allowed the Church to monitor and censor any books that contained heretical beliefs or ideas that contradicted the Church’s teachings. The Church was also troubled by the effects of popular readings and questionings of faith, and so imposed severe controls over publishers and booksellers.

d) Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association.

Answer: Gandhi believed that the fight for Swaraj (self-rule) was a fight for the freedom of speech, press, and association. He believed that these three vehicles of expressing and cultivating public opinion were essential for the people of India to be able to express their views and opinions freely. He believed that the Government of India was trying to suppress these freedoms and so the fight for Swaraj was a fight for these threatened freedoms.

2. Write short notes to show what you know about:

a) The Gutenberg Press

Answer: The Gutenberg Press was an invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century. It was the first printing press to use movable type, which allowed for the mass production of printed materials. This invention revolutionized the way books and other materials were printed, allowing for faster and more efficient production. The Gutenberg Press was instrumental in the spread of knowledge and ideas, and was a major factor in the spread of the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. The invention of the Gutenberg Press allowed for the rapid dissemination of ideas and knowledge, and was a key factor in the spread of literacy and education in Europe. It also allowed for the printing of books and other materials in larger quantities, making them more affordable and accessible to the general public. The Gutenberg Press was a major factor in the development of modern printing technology, and its impact is still felt today.

b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book

Answer: Erasmus was a Dutch scholar and theologian who was a major proponent of the printed book. He believed that the printed book had the potential to revolutionize the way knowledge was shared and disseminated. He argued that the printed book could make knowledge more widely available, and could help to spread new ideas and promote critical thinking. He also argued that the printed book could help to spread religious teachings and doctrines more quickly and efficiently. Erasmus was a strong advocate of the printed book, and his ideas helped to shape the development of printing technology in the 16th century.

c) The Vernacular Press Act

Answer: The Vernacular Press Act was a law passed by the British colonial government in India in 1878. The Act was modelled on the Irish Press Laws, and provided the government with extensive rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular press. The Act was passed in response to the increasing assertiveness of the vernacular press, which was seen as a threat to the colonial government. The Act allowed the government to issue warnings to newspapers that published seditious reports, and to seize and confiscate the printing machinery of those that ignored the warnings. The Vernacular Press Act was a major step in the curtailment of press freedom in India, and was a key factor in the suppression of nationalist sentiment.

3. What did the spread of print culture in nineteenth century India mean to:

a) Women

Answer: The spread of print culture in nineteenth century India meant that women had access to a range of literature, including books and journals, which discussed issues like women’s education, widowhood, widow remarriage, and the national movement. Some of these books and journals also offered household and fashion lessons to women, and provided entertainment through short stories and serialised novels.

b) The poor 

Answer: The spread of print culture in nineteenth century India meant that the poor had access to cheap books and public libraries, which allowed them to access a range of literature, including books and journals, which discussed issues like caste discrimination, women’s education, widowhood, widow remarriage, and the national movement. This allowed them to become more informed about the issues of the day and to participate in debates and discussions.

c) Reformers

Answer: The spread of print culture in nineteenth century India meant that reformers had access to a range of literature, including books and journals, which discussed issues like women’s education, widowhood, widow remarriage, and the national movement. This allowed them to spread their ideas and opinions to a wider audience, and to engage in debates and discussions with those who disagreed with them. This also allowed them to shape public opinion and to challenge existing beliefs and practices.


1. Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?

Answer: Some people in eighteenth century Europe thought that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism because it allowed for the spread of new ideas and knowledge. Through print, people were able to access a range of literature, including books and journals, which discussed issues like the rights of man, natural rights, democracy, and the rule of law. This allowed people to become more informed about the issues of the day and to challenge existing beliefs and practices.

2. Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example from Europe and one from India.

Answer: In Europe, some people feared the effect of easily available printed books because they were apprehensive of the effects that the easier access to the printed word and the wider circulation of books could have on people’s minds. It was feared that if there was no control over what was printed and read then rebellious and irreligious thoughts might spread. In India, some people feared the effect of easily available printed books because they were concerned that it would lead to the spread of western ideas and values, which could undermine traditional beliefs and practices.

3. What were the effects of the spread of print culture for poor people in nineteenth century India?

Answer: The spread of print culture in nineteenth century India had a positive effect for poor people as it allowed them access to books that were previously unavailable to them. Very cheap small books were brought to markets in nineteenth-century Madras towns and sold at crossroads, allowing poor people travelling to markets to buy them. Public libraries were set up from the early twentieth century, expanding the access to books. These libraries were located mostly in cities and towns, and at times in prosperous villages. This allowed poor people to access literature, which was previously only available to the wealthy.

4. Explain how print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India. 

Answer: Print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India by allowing people to access information about colonial misrule and nationalist activities. Nationalist newspapers grew in numbers in all parts of India, reporting on colonial misrule and encouraging nationalist activities. These newspapers helped to spread the ideas of nationalism and to build a sense of solidarity among people from different parts of India. Additionally, religious texts were printed and distributed widely, which helped to create a sense of pan-Indian identity and unity.


Find out more about the changes in print technology in the last 100 years. Write about the changes, explaining why they have taken place, what their consequences have been.

Answer: In the past century, the printing industry has undergone significant transformations as a result of the development of new printing technologies that have revolutionised the production of printed materials. The following are some of the changes in print technology that have occurred over the past century and their repercussions:

Offset printing was developed in the early 1900s using a flat metal plate to transfer ink to a rubber blanket, which then transfers the image to paper. The majority of mass-produced publications, such as newspapers, magazines, and books, now utilise offset printing. It is still widely used today because it produces consistent, high-quality prints.

In the 1990s, digital printing emerged as a substitute for conventional offset printing. Digital printing technology enables printing on demand, allowing businesses to print smaller quantities of materials as needed without the need for large print runs. This has significantly reduced printing expenses for small businesses and individuals. Digital printing has also enabled the production of high-quality prints with more intricate designs, such as variable data printing and personalised printing.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a relatively new printing technology that was developed in the 1980s but has only recently become widely available. By layering materials such as plastic, metal, or resin, 3D printing enables the production of three-dimensional objects. This technology has revolutionised industries such as healthcare, aerospace, and manufacturing by enabling the production of complex and individualised parts and objects.

In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for eco-friendly and sustainable printing techniques. To reduce their carbon footprint, printers now use eco-friendly inks, recycled papers, and energy-efficient printing processes. This has made the printing industry more sustainable and reduced waste and pollution.

There are numerous repercussions of these changes in print technology. For starters, print technology has become more accessible, affordable, and quick, enabling the production of printed materials to be more efficient. In addition, new printing technologies have resulted in more creative and customizable designs and made it easier for businesses and individuals to produce unique and customised materials.

In addition, the shift towards environmentally-friendly printing practises has reduced the printing industry’s environmental impact and led to a greater sense of social responsibility within the industry. Changes in print technology over the past century have had a significant impact on the printing industry and led to more efficient, creative, and environmentally friendly printing practises.

Extra/additional questions and answers & MCQs


1. Who developed the first known printing press and when?

Answer: The first known printing press was developed by Johann Gutenberg in Strasbourg, Germany in the 1430s.

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48. Why were 90 newspapers suppressed during the Second World War?

Answer: 90 newspapers were suppressed during the Second World War at the outbreak of the Defence of India Act, which allowed censoring of reports of war-related topics.


1. Who invented the printing press?

A. Marco Polo
B. Johann Gutenberg
C. Scribes
D. Silk Route

Answer: B. Johann Gutenberg

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41. What was the reason behind the colonial government’s control over vernacular press?

A. Assertive nationalism
B. Seditious reports
C. Persecution of nationalist newspapers
D. Militant protest

Answer: B. Seditious reports

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