Hicky’s Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India’s First Newspaper is available. Buy it now online or your local bookstore.
Late eighteenth century Calcutta.
The British are well-ensconced in Bengal, but not yet an empire. Indian princes pose a danger to the East India Company’s plans of commerce and domination. Warren Hastings, the British governor-general, is attempting to consolidate his power in the Company.
Johann Zacharias Kiernander is on a mission to convert heathen souls in a land far from his native Sweden though he is not averse to lining his pockets while doing ‘God’s work’.
Into this steaming cauldron of skullduggery and intrigue walks James Augustus Hicky, a wild Irishman seeking fame and fortune. Sensing an opportunity, he decides to establish a newspaper, the first of its kind in South Asia. In two short years, his endeavour threatens to lay bare the murky underside of the early British empire. Does it succeed?
This is the true story of the forces Hicky came up against, the corrupt authorities determined to stop him and of his resourcefulness. The product of five years of research in the archives of India, UK and Germany, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette: The Story of India’s First Newspaper is an essential and compelling addition to the history of subcontinental journalism.
Not only is the story a microcosm of global affairs and colonialism, but it is a tangible reminder of the importance of freedom speech through culture and time. Andrew hopes his book’s will foster interest in the links between the past and the present, and between the diverse histories of India, the UK and the US.