Somprakash

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Somprakash a weekly newspaper started on 15 November 1858, (1 Agrahayan 1265 BS) by Dwarakanath Vidyabhusan. Dwarakanath (1819-1886) was a professor of sanskrit college in Calcutta. The original plan was mooted by iswar chandra vidyasagar (1820-1891), who continued to advise Dwarakanath in editorial matters. From April 1862, Somprakash was published from Dwarakanath's house at Changripota village, near Sonarpur, southeast of Calcutta. Due to other preoccupations, Dwarakanath relieved himself of editorial duties from 2 January 1865. Mohanlal Vidyavagish took over and even Shibnath Shastri took charge for a few months. Dwarakanath resumed as editor from 27 July 1874. After the vernacular press act (March 1878), Somprakash roused the ire of the Government and publication was suspended for a year. After providing written assurance of allegiance to the Government, it reappeared on 19 April 1880. After Dwarakanath's death, the publication was handed over to a trust, which continued it for a few more years.

Somprakash was the first Bangla newspaper to indulge in political discussions. Social and political issues regularly featured in it. Dwarakanath shunned 'groupism' and never threw invectives at anybody as was done by other newspapers of the day. Somprakash did not support all policies of the Government; it raised its voice against the Vernacular Press Act and in support of the ilbert bill. It opposed child-marriage and kulinism. Though not clearly in favour of women's freedom, it supported women's education and widow remarriage. Somprakash looked down upon keshab chandra sen and the Brahma Samaj. It was vociferous against the Indigo and Tea-planters. Its attitude to the landholders was somewhat moderate. Vidyabhusana Library at Changripota has some volumes of Somprakash. [Indrajit Chaudhuri]