And Asia’s second oldest newspaper is…

25 June 2012

Asia’s second oldest newspaper, the Bombay-based Parsi daily, Jam-e-Jamshed, turns 180 years old this year. Its editor Shernaaz Engineer, a former journalist with the Afternoon Despatch & Courier, in conversation with Prabhat Sharan of Deccan Herald:

What does Jam-e-Jamshed mean? And is the origin of newspaper connected to the growth ofMumbai as a trade post in the early 19th century?

Jam-e-Jamshed is the second oldest newspaper in Asia; the first being Mumbai Samachar, which interestingly still comes out from the same place where it was started. Jam-e-Jamshed also had its own iconic red brick building at Ballard Pier near Mumbai Docks before shifting out.

In Persian language, Jam-e-Jamshed means the goblet in which you can see the future. The paper was started by the extremely influential Marzban family of Mumbai. This was the time when Gujaratis, Parsis and Bohras—the three key trading communities—were slowly establishing themselves in and around Mumbai port.

And with the trade bourse coming up, the emergence of  a newspaper was bound to be there. And the first newspapers carried reports primarily revolving around businesses in Europe as well as events that affected the Indian sub-continent then.

But has the newspaper always been catering to Parsis? Did it have a spectrum of diverse readership from other communities?

The newspaper primarily had a readership from the trading communities. And Parsis, of course, comprised a major chunk. But then other huge chunk of readership came from the Bohra community. Both are  business communities. And since Parsis are the original “argumentative Indians” the newspaper also had moorings in carrying extreme views and debates on every topic on the earth.

Read the full interview: Providing a platform to Parsis

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