Not everyone welcomed printed books and those who did, also had fear about them. Many were of the opinion that printed words and the wider circulation of books, would have a negative impact on people’s minds. They feared that if there was no control over what was printed and read, then rebellious and irreligious thoughts might gain importance.
There was also fear in the minds of scholars that the authority of ‘valuable’ literature would be destroyed. The new print medium was criticised by religious authorities and monarchs, as well as by writers and artists.
Let us consider the implication of this irioile sphere of life in Europe regarding religion. Martin Luther was a German monk, priest, professor and a church reformer.
He wrote ‘Ninety Five Theses’ in 1517 and openly criticised many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. A printed copy of this was pasted on a church door in Wittenberg. It challenged the church to debate his ideas.
Luther’s writings were immediately copied in vast numbers and read widely. This led to a division within the church and led to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
In India, the British Government favoured censorship of the press and passed a law to hinder free circulation of newspapers and journals. Vernacular Press Act provided the government with extensive rights to censor reports and editorials.