Media ::The Grass Root and indeed the Mass Root of the Fourth Estate.
The impact of western culture made tremendous change in the social lives of Odia people. When the people of Odisha were dreaming for the development of an intellectual environment, the press, as an instrument to spread knowledge and wisdom, came to the soil of Odisha as a blessing. The first printing press of Odisha was established in 1838 and ‘Gyanaruna’, the first printed Odia book was published in 1842. Reverend Lassey was the editor of this book.The great famine of 1866 had a disastrous effect on the state. The precarious condition of the people knew no bounds and the British Government totally failed to control the situation. To overcome the said unbearable situation, the plight of the people was greatly affected by historic famine that the state had ever seen in its history. The need of a newspaper as the vital carrier of information was then felt essential at all quarters. A well known Oriya youngman, Gouri Shankar Ray pioneered the publication of ‘Utkal Dipika’, the first newspaper of its kind in Odia language in 1866 which continued to provide its message till 1934 with many ups and downs. The dedication of Bargarh and undivided Sambalpur was really praiseworthy in the protection of Odia Language. The present Bargarh District was under the administration of Chhot Nagpur Commissioner when Hindi Language was the medium of instruction in the courts. The inclusion of Sambalpur in Odisha Division in 1860 allowed Odia language as the official government language in Odisha. Within two years in 1862, Sambalpur went under the governance of Madhya Pradesh but Odia Language was continued to be the official language in courts and offices till 1895. It was on 19th January 1895, by the order of Chief Commissioner Sir Woodburg, Odia language was debarred and Hindi Language was made active once again as the language of Sambalpur courts. This had led to a strong agitation. The strong agitation compelled the administration to reincarnate Odia Language in the courts of Sambalpur. Sambalpur District was included in the Odisha Division on 16th October 1905. The publications of Odia newspapers and magazines were already pioneered long before the emergence of the Independent Odisha on 1st April 1936. ‘Sambalpur Hiatashini’ was pioneered by Pandit Nilamani Vidyaratna in 1900. Baikunthanath Dey also established a press and started a newspaper named ‘Utkal Darpan’ under the ceditorship of Sripati Mishra of Sambalpur continued its regular publication till 1908. Likewise, under the able editorship of Shankar Prasad Padhee of Sambalpur ‘Sevaka Patrika’ was published from 1920 till 1928. As an impact of all these publications, legendry poet Swapneswar Dash pioneered ‘Sadhana’ in 1922 in Bargarh District which is considered as the oldest newspaper of Bargarh. Though it was published in Sadhana Printing Press at Sambalpur in the early years, the press was later shifted by him to Bargarh and ‘Sadhana’ became a choicest newspaper of the local mass for years together. Bargarh Laureate and Lawyer Dayanidhi Mishra was quite attached to the 1868 pioneered newspaper ‘Sambad Bahika’ of Father of Odia Literature Fakir Mohan Senapati and some other publications like ‘Star of Utkal, ‘Samaj’ and ‘Mukura’. Later he became the editor of both ‘Mukura’ and ‘Nabayuga’. The legendry novelist of Cuttack Ramprasad Singh accepted Barpali as his work land and led the publication of ‘Dainika Swarajya’. Earlier he was the editor of ‘Matrubhumi’, published at Cuttack. The renowned essayist and leader Madan Mohan Sahu was the editor of Sambalpur Edition of ‘Agnisikha’. Ambika Charan Sharma pioneered the publication of weekly newspaper ‘Sat Kahelen Chhati Phate’(1962) at Titlagarh and later at Sambalpur and Bargarh which was quite popular. ‘Bharat my Nation’, the English publication was also coordinated by him. The Odia publication ‘Sat Kahele Chhati Phate’ was reincarnated and published in Koshali and Devnagri Scripts when the revered court banned its publication in Odia due to a controversial article. As a result, ‘Sat Kahele Chhati Phate’ is named as the first newspaper published in Bargarh. Hindi Newspaper ‘Apil’ under the editorship of Prutvinath Sahu is the first Hindi Newspaper of Bargarh published quarterly. Similarly Odia fortnightly ‘Lokaraj’(1967) was publish by professor Netrananda Pujari from Bargarh. Initially it was published from Sambalpur & latter on from Bargarh . The most popular Odia weekly edition of Bargarh ‘Ganaistahar’ pioneered by Sitikantha Pattajoshi in 1980 has influenced the day today life of the people of entire Bargarh District which is published now under the able editorship of Prasanna Kumar Mishra. Weekly Newspaper ‘Ratnabhumi’ under the editorship of Binod Kumar Pati was unveiled by Chief Minister Biju Patnaik on the auspicious day of 1st April 1993 when he declared Bargarh as a new district of Odisha. When the editorship responsibility was shouldered by Surendra Hota and responsibility of publication was shouldered by Debesh Acharya, this weekly newspaper ‘Ratnabhumi’ was published in ultra-modern offset printing system and became the first newspaper ever printed in an offset printing in undivided Sambalpur district. Earlier all the newspapers were published in traditional letter compose and tradel machine system. After the popularity of Ganaistahar, Odia Newspaper ‘Abhijan’ and later ‘Apil’ were published. Under the editorship of Kishore Chandra Gadtia of Barpali ‘Sarasa Prabaha’ was published in 1995 to 1998, Sudam Pasait from Attbira published Odia Newspaper ‘West Lander’(1981) and multi lingual newspaper of Er.Ghanashyam Agrawal ‘Arthika Chhaya’, Mrutinjaya Meher’s ‘Mo Mati’ Former MLA of Melchhamunda Dr.Murari Mishra’s ‘Chasha Bhai’ and Padmpur MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha’s ‘Bindhya Basini Jyoti’ , Advocate Santosh Satpathy’s ‘Singhanada’, Nasir Khan’s Odia Newspaper ‘Betal Bhramana’ Sanjib Mahapatra’s ‘Koshal Times’, Satya Pradhan’s publication ‘Satya Bazar’ in 2000, ‘Bargarh Samachar’ in 2003 and ‘Bargarh Barta’ in 2008, Kishanlal Agrawal’s Hindi Newspaper ‘Shyam Sandesh’ Odia weekly newspaper of Rakesh Kumar joshi ‘ Bidroha’ in 2002, Padampur Publication of Sanjay Bohidar ‘Sambadaduta’ in 1990, ‘Triranga’ in 1997, Santanu Kumar Biswals’ publication ‘ Surendra Bhumi’, Barpali publication of Prabhakar Mahapatr’s ‘Gan Katha’, Ashok Mittals’ ‘Bargadia’ ‘Mukul Chandra Majumdar’s ‘Bargad Express’, Sadananda Mahapatra’s ‘Kalki Avatar’, Upendra Prasad Meher’s ‘Sampratika Halchal’ are the newspapers publish in Bargarh District and have a great impact in the life of the people of this district.