One of the leading English dailies of Northern India is The Tribune. It is published from Amritsar, Bathinda, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. The Tribune is one of the most read and the largest selling English newspapers in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. It is a newspaper known for its unbiased news reporting and in true sense The Tribune is an independent publication. It has two other sister publications namely Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune which are Punjabi and Hindi newspapers respectively.
The story of The Tribune started on 2 February 1881 in Lahore now in Pakistan. It was founded by the philanthropist Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia. He was a man of Western ideas and Indian thoughts and he belonged to a family of distinguished ruling chiefs of Punjab. Being an admirer of Brahmo Samaj which initiated social and educational reforms in Bengal, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia contributed much towards the educational cause of the Punjab region. He was known for his contribution towards various colleges all over Northern India, like Dayal Singh College and Dayal Singh Memorial Library in Lahore. He was closely associated with Punjab University. He is also credited for launching the Punjab National Bank.
The idea of The Tribune was of Surendranath Banerjea who persuaded Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia to start an English language newspaper for the cause of education in the Punjab region through English medium. The very first issue of The Tribune dated 2 February 1881, promoted modern education through English language instead of oriental revivalism using classical languages and vernaculars. Strong public opinion was built with the newspaper’s articles which later led to promotion of English education among the masses and establishment of Punjab University.
It was not an easy task to launch an English newspaper in Punjab. There was no availability of printing machinery, editorial staff and journalists. With Surendranath Banerjea’s help printing press was arranged and Seetalchandra Mookerjee became the first editor of The Tribune with Sitalakanta Chatterjee appointed as sub-editor. The job of printer was given to R. Williams who had worked with Indian Chronicle. Bipin Chandra Pal was also a staff of the newspaper for a few months during the early phases of the newspaper. Dayal Singh’s connection with Brahmo friends from Bengal played an important role in establishing The Tribune in its initial years.
Propagation of liberal education and taking up public causes made The Tribune popular in all of upper India. The Tribune’s voice was taken note of. At one point of time, the British civilians of Punjab province began to feel that the Lieutenant Governor and The Tribune ruled the province. The newspaper always exposed wrong doings and was strongly nationalistic in character. Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia emphasised on non-interference with editors in running The Tribune and was strongly in support of a newspaper free from communalism.
The Tribune started as a weekly newspaper and soon turned into a nationalistic daily. It was bold and fearless and its articles shook the British Empire. Dyal Singh Majithia died in 1898 and during his lifetime The Tribune became a prestigious newspaper upholding Indian self-esteem. In his will, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia created The Tribune Trust and he appointed three eminent lawyer-friends to be the trustees of The Tribune.
In 1947, India became independent but with independence came the heavy blow of partition which divided Punjab. Lahore went to Pakistan and The Tribune had to shift its base to Ambala from where it started afresh with a new press. Most of the readers of The Tribune got left back in Pakistan and The Tribune lost its position as the foremost national newspaper of India. The trustees of The Tribune, inspired by the high ideals of Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, drove the newspaper even during this tumultuous period of Punjab’s partition.
Today headquartered in Chandigarh, The Tribune is now edited by Rajesh Ramachandran since 2018. Keeping in pace with the modern era, The Tribune launched its online edition in 1998 and online versions of Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune started in 2010. All three newspapers are published by the Tribune Trust. Narinder Nath Vohra is the president of the Tribune Trust and S. S. Sodhi, S. S. Mehta, Naresh Mohan, and Gurbachan Jagat are the other trustees.
As per Audit Bureau of Circulation’s survey in 2012, The Tribune’s daily circulation across Northern India is 3, 33,727 and as per Indian Readership Survey, the daily readership is 6, 43,000. With these figures, The Tribune maintains dominance over other English dailies in the region. It is among the Top 10 English newspapers in India. Just like any other newspaper, The Tribune receives the majority of its revenue from advertisements rather than subscriptions. Due to its huge readership and circulation, it receives a good number of daily advertisements as it is one of the best platforms to reach out to the masses. The Tribune classifieds are the best way to recruit, find a match or sell a property in Northern India.
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