2nd OCTOBER 1929 MAHATMA GANDHI MADE NAVJIVAN PUBLICATION A CHARITABLE TRUST

Growth of Navajivan :

Navajivan was being printed in the Natvar Printing Press situated near the Khamasa Gate in Ahmedabad. Soon after Gandhiji took over Navajivan readership increased from 600 to 6000 by the third issue and the small press in which Navajivan was printed, was found to be inadequate to cope with the demands. It was, therefore, decided to purchase a printing press. Manahar Printing Press located in a lane at the entrance of Chudiaul was purchased at the cost of Rs. 10,000/- and renamed as Navajivan Mudranalaya. The other reason which was more important for purchasing a printing press was the reluctance on the part of the owners of the other printing presses to print the fearless and critical writings of Gandhiji against the Government.

In a shortwhile circulation of Navajivan reached the figure of 12,000 but Young India could reach the circulation of only 1,400. This was found to be uneconomical. Hence it was decided to entrust the supervision of both the weeklies and the management of the printing press to a single person, Swami Anand.

On the 1st August 1920, Non-Cooperation Movement was launched due to khilafat issue. Gandhiji travelled extensively throughout India addressing various public gatherings. This brought about unusual awareness amongst the people and the atmosphere was surcharged with new hopes. Subscribers of Navajivan and Young India increased by leaps and bounds. Both the publications became self-reliant within no time and even the debt incurred for purchasing and running the press was also liquidated.

On August 19, 1921 Hindi Navajivan, a Hindi edition of Navajivan was published. Non-Cooperation Movement had reached its peak in 1921 and the readers were eagerly awaiting arrival of Navajivan and Young India every Sunday. Due to Non-Coperation Movement, contributors to the weeklies increased and circulation of Navajivan reached 40,000 and that of Young India 26,000 to 30,000. Even Hindi Navajivan reached the circulation of 15,000 to 18,000. Additional issues of Navajivan became the order of the day. About 90 people were working day and night in a small place. It was not possible to work in such a congested small place like this for a long time and there was a need to shift to a larger and better place. A building situated in Sarkhigarani Wadi outside Sarangpur Gate was found convenient and on the 11th February, 1922 the printing press and all the other departments of the Institution were shifted.

Hardly had a month elapsed when the Government arrested Gandhiji for writing three seditious articles in Young India and sentenced him to six years’ simple imprisonment. As the Government had not asked Navajivan Mudranalaya to furnish security deposit for non-violation of press rules, the weeklies were continued to be published under the editorship of various workers till their arrests.

In January, 1924 Gandhiji was operated upon for Appendicities. On the 5th February he was released unconditionally by the Government. As soon as Gandhiji regained strength, he resumed editorship of Navajivan and Young India from April 1924. After Gandhiji resumed editorship Young India continued as effectively and aggressively as before until 1930 when the historical Salt Satyagraha was launched. In 1924 savings of Rs. 50,000/- of Navajivan Mudranalaya were handed over to Gujarat Prantik Samiti for propagation of spinning wheel and khadi.

In the year 1925 the first Mumbai office of Navajivan was opened to provide Mumbaites its publications at a low cost and in time. Similar offices were also opened in Surat, Pune, Rajkot, Delhi, Indore and Vadodara.

Navajivan Institution was expanding. No advertisement was being taken in the weeklies and publications were also provided to the readers at a low cost.

In 1928 the total asset of Navajivan Institution was estimated at Rs. 100,000/-. On the 27th November 1929 Gandhiji registered the deed of Trust and converted private ownership of Navajivan Institution into a Public Charitable Trust.

Thus the long cherished ideal of Gandhiji of creating a public institution for educating public opinion together with the activities of conducting weeklies was fulfilled.

The following are the extracts from the Declaration of Trust made by Mahatma Gandhi on November 26, 1929.

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