NCERT Solutions for Class 10 Social Science Chapter 5 - Print Culture and the Modern World

NCERT Solutions for Class 10th Social Science will provide a detailed understanding of the chapter “Print Culture and the Modern World”. The solutions are valuable resources when it is time for the preparation of the board exams. Students can download NCERT Solutions from the Aasoka platform for free and get started with their learning. Also, with the help of the questions designed by subject matter experts, students of Class 10th can get ready for their competitive exams.

“Print Culture and the Modern World” chapter in the book of Social Science Class 10th provides a detailed understanding of the development of print culture. Its journey started in East Asia leading to its evolution in Europe in India. Now, print culture is found everywhere starting from calendars, advertisements, books, newspapers, diaries, journals, and so much more. The world without print is hard to imagine. This chapter also explains the effect of the spread of technology and how the social and cultural lives have changed once the print has been introduced.

Question 1:

Give reasons for the following:

Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295.


The Chinese used the technology of woodblock printing. Marco Polo, an Italian explorer, stayed for several years in China. In 1295, he returned to Italy and took along with him the knowledge of woodblock printing there. Thereafter, the Italians began producing books with woodblocks, and soon the technology spread to other parts of Europe. Before 1295, manuscripts were written by scribes all over Europe.

Question 2:

Give reasons for the following:

Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of it.

  1. Martin Luther was a great religious reformer of Germany. He was deeply grateful to print. He considered print as the ultimate gift of God. It was through print that people could be induced to think differently and motivated to take action.
  2. In 1517, Martin Luther wrote 95 theses. In these theses, he criticised many practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. A printed copy of this was pasted on a church door in Wittenberg. Luther’s writings were then reproduced in vast numbers and read widely.
  3. This led to a division within the Church and Protestant Reformation gained momentum. In this way, print culture gave rise to a new intellectual atmosphere and helped in spreading new ideas. Therefore, Martin Luther was in favour of print and praised it tremendously.
Question 3:

Give reasons for the following:

The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an Index of Prohibited Books from the mid-sixteenth century.


Why did the Roman Catholic Church begin to keep an Index of Prohibited Books from the mid-16th century?


Why did the Roman Catholic Church impose control over publishers and booksellers?


In the sixteenth century, a miller in Italy, Menocchio, reinterpreted the message of the Bible. He formulated an alternate view about God and the concept of creation. It enraged the Roman Catholic Church. Menocchio was declared as heretical by the Roman Catholics and finally executed. The Roman Catholic Church was troubled by sudden effects of such questionings of faith which were widely read. The Church then imposed severe regulations on the publishers and booksellers. The Church also decided to maintain an Index of Prohibited Books from 1558.

Question 4:

Give reasons for the following:

Mahatma Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association.

  1. Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. The British Government undertook several repressive measures to crush this movement. It put a ban on Indians’ liberty of speech, liberty of the press and freedom of association. Mahatma Gandhi considered these three liberties as three prerequisites for attaining Swaraj. No nation could ever survive in the absence of these liberties.
  2. The fight for Swaraj was, in fact, a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association. During the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922, he expressed that freedom of the press was integral for shaping the public opinion. Moreover, the demand for Swaraj was an intense struggle to achieve civil liberties and freedom of expression.
Question 5:

Write short notes to show what you know about:

The Gutenberg Press

  1. The Gutenberg Press was the first printing press in the world. It was set up by Gutenberg in Germany in 1448. Before the invention of this press, books were written by hand and they were very costly. So, the poor people could not afford to buy them. The Gutenberg Press ensured that books reached the common people.
  2. The Gutenberg Press had a long handle attached to the screw. This handle was used to turn the screw and press down the platen over the printing block that was placed on top of a sheet of damp paper. Gutenberg developed metal types for each of the 26 characters of the Roman alphabet and devised a way of moving them around to compose different words of the text.
  3. It came to be known as the moveable type printing machine. This machine remained the basic print technology over the next three centuries. Books could now be produced much faster than what was possible before. The Gutenberg Press could print 250 sheets on one side per hour. (iv) The first book Gutenberg printed was the Bible. About 180 copies were printed and it took three years to print them.
Question 6:

Write short notes to show what you know about:

Erasmus’ idea of the printed book

  1. Erasmus was a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer. He criticised the tenets of Catholicism but held different ideals from Martin Luther. Unlike Martin Luther, he was not in favour of printed books.
  2. He was doubtful of the effects that mass printing of books could have on people’s minds. He believed that if there was no control over what was printed and read, it would result in spread of irreligious and radical ideas. Also, the significance of valuable literature would be lost.
Question 7:

Write short notes to show what you know about:

The Vernacular Press Act

  1. Some of the earliest newspapers in India were started by the British for themselves. During the course of the 19th century, a powerful Indian press grew, both in English and Indian languages.
  2. With the rise of political consciousness and the beginning of political activities by Indians, there was an increase in the number of Indian newspapers and journals.
  3. Some of the English newspapers which were owned by the British were supporters of British rule. The others, however, criticised the British rule.
  4. The local newspapers voiced the grievances of the Indian people and made them aware of the events in different parts of the country. The media became a powerful instrument for mobilising the people.
  5. Therefore, the British Government wanted to take measures to control them. Modelled on the Irish press laws, it passed the Vernacular Press Act in 1878. It gave the government power to censor reports and editorials in the Indian newspapers. If any article was found ‘seditious’, the newspaper was warned by the British. If the warning was ignored, the press could be shut down or its assets could be seized by the British.
Question 8:

What did the spread of print culture in nineteenth century India mean to:

  1. Women
  2. The poor
  3. Reformers
  1. Print culture and women: The spread of print culture in nineteenth-century India enormously increased women’s reading in middle-class households. Many journals printed articles written by women. There was a strong movement in support of women education. Reading matter was made available which could be used for home-based schooling. As a result, education among women spread widely. Women began to document their experiences and grievances. Many women like Rashsundari Debi, Kailashbashini Debi, Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai wrote about how women were confined to homes and were treated unjustly in every sphere of life. Thus, print culture proved useful for emancipating women.
  2. Print culture and the poor: Print culture provided a platform to women to raise their voices against all the injustice they suffered. Issues of caste discrimination were discussed in several writings and essays. Writers like Jyotiba Phule, B.R. Ambedkar and E.V. Ramaswamy wrote on caste discrimination and their writings were read by people all over India. Mill workers wrote to show the links between caste and class exploitation. All over India, they set up libraries to educate themselves. All this helped in uplifting the poor.
  3. Print culture and reformers: In nineteenth-century India, several evil customs and practices were an integral part of the social system. Some prominent evils among them were sati, miserable condition of widows, female infanticide, child marriage, idolatry, purdah system, caste system, untouchability and Brahmanical dominance. The social and religious reformers campaigned against these evils with the help of newspapers and magazines. They advocated the values of human dignity and social equality. Thus, the print media played a vital role in reforming the society at large.
Question 9:

Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?


Before the invention of the printing press, access to print was limited. It was restricted to the upper classes. Common people largely learnt from oral culture. Books were expensive and produced in insufficient numbers. However, with the advent of print culture, a new reading public emerged. It contributed to the spread of knowledge. Hence, some people in eighteenth-century Europe thought that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism. Following arguments can be given in support of their argument:

  1. The cost of books was reduced. The time and labour required to produce each book also reduced. Multiple copies began to be produced with less effort than before. As a result, the markets were flooded by books for all kinds of readers.
  2. Literacy rates increased in almost all countries of the world. Schools were set up in rural areas as well.
  3. The periodical press came up and journals were circulated among a large number of people. They carried information about events in all parts of the world.
  4. The ideas of scientists and philosophers became more accessible to the common people. Ancient and medieval scientific texts were compiled and published, and maps and scientific diagrams were widely printed. The writings of Newton, Voltaire and Rousseau were widely printed and read. Their ideas about science, reason and rationality changed the mindset of the common people.
Question 10:

Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example from Europe and one from India.


Easy availability of printed books created the possibility for wide circulation of ideas. Some people welcomed this change, whereas some people expressed apprehensions about its far-reaching effects.

It was feared that if there was no control over what was printed and read, irreligious and radical views might spread. It would lessen the authority of valuable literature. Several religious leaders, monarchs, scholars and artists held this view and vocalised their anxieties. Thus, there was widespread criticism of the new printed literature that had begun to circulate. The Roman Catholic Church was troubled by wide circulation of books and consequently, ‘prohibited’ many published writings.

In Europe, a Latin scholar, Erasmus, expressed grave doubts about easily available printed books. He opined that easy availability of printed books was harmful to serious scholarship. Rich and valuable works would lose their significance in the presence of ignorant, slanderous, seditious and irreligious books.

In India, Lord Lytton passed the Vernacular Press Act in 1878. It gave the government undue rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular press. It meant that the government would not allow any criticism. If anything ‘objectionable’ was printed, the assets of a press could be seized.

Question 11:

What were the effects of the spread of print culture on poor people in nineteenth century India?

  1. The spread of print culture proved a blessing in disguise for the poor people in nineteenth-century India. It took up the cause of the labourers and the down-trodden. Issues of caste discrimination began to be written about in many writings. Jyotiba Phule wrote about the injustices of the caste system.
  2. Similarly, some writers wrote powerfully on the social and economic inequalities prevalent. The differences of class were discussed in many published works. Local groups and sects also brought out their own printed material envisioning a new and just future.
  3. Some scholars and thinkers wrote to establish links between caste and class exploitation. Libraries were set up for the workers specifically to spread literacy.
  4. The spread of print culture helped in restricting drinking as well as encouraging literacy among the poor. It not only awakened the masses about caste exploitation but also infused national thought.
Question 12:

Explain how print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India.


How did the print culture assist the growth of nationalism in India? Explain in five points.

  1. Print culture played a vital role in the growth of nationalism in India. Indian press criticised the British policies and put forward the Indian viewpoint.
  2. They reported on colonial misrule and encouraged nationalist activities. Attempts to curb nationalist criticism provoked militant protest. This, in turn, led to a renewed cycle of protests and struggles.
  3. Newspapers like The Hindu, Bombay Samachar, Indian Mirror, Amrit Bazar Patrika and the Kesari had a great influence on Indian people.
  4. Print culture changed the outlook of the Indians and they began to study about the contemporary national movements in European nations. They were able to understand the ill-effects of foreign and colonial rule.
  5. National literature in the form of novels, essays, plays and patriotic poetry urged the people to unite and work for national welfare. The writings of political philosophers like Rousseau and Mill enabled the Indians to learn about liberty and democracy. Hence, the nationalist writings prepared the people of India to launch a powerful movement against the British.
Question 13:

Write briefly why some people feared that the development of print could lead to the growth of dissenting ideas.


With the coming of printing technology, there was a greater possibility for wide circulation of ideas. A new world of debate and discussion would be created. Those who did not agree with the established norms, were now able to publish and circulate their ideas. Through print medium, they persuaded the people to think differently and developed the spirit for enquiry. The growth in popularity of the Reformist ideas in Europe is an example of this trend.

Question 14:

Why do some historians think that print culture created the basis for the French Revolution?


Some historians argue that print culture created conditions that culminated in French Revolution. They give the following arguments in support of their viewpoint:

  1. Print popularised the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers. The writings of some famous scholars and philosophers provided a critical commentary on tradition, superstitions and despotism. They attacked the sacred authority of the Church and the despotic power of the state. The writings of Voltaire and Rousseau were widely read and those who read these books saw the world through a different spectrum.
  2. Print created a new culture of dialogue and debate. All values, norms and institutions were re-evaluated and discussed in public sphere. The need was felt to question the existing ideas and beliefs and think rationally.
  3. By the 1780s, there was an outpouring of literature that ridiculed royalty and aristocracy. Questions were raised about the existing social order. Cartoons and caricatures suggested that monarchy was not bothered about the hardships of the common people. This literature circulated the growth of hostile sentiments against the monarchy.
  4. There is no doubt that print helps in spreading of ideas. However, we must not forget that people did not read just one kind of literature. If there were revolutionary writings, people were also exposed to monarchical and Church propaganda. The readers interpreted things in their own way. They were not influenced directly by everything they read or saw. Print may not have a direct influence on the minds of people, yet it opens the possibilities of thinking differently.

Question 15:

An image shows an srtist's fear that the cultural impact of the West has turned the traditional Indian family upside down. What changes in society were taking place to provoke this reaction?


The reactionary elements in the society were disturbed by the active participation of women in the public spheres. The role of women did not remain confine to domestic spaces and households but they took part in national struggles and social movements of that time. Education among women was also encouraged.

Question 16:

A picture suggests traditional family roles in which the Sahib holds a liquor bottle in his hand while the Memsahib plays the violin.Do you agree with the artist’s view?


No, I do not agree with the artist’s viewpoint. Discrimination on the basis of gender is not justified. Women should not remain subservient to men in the society and everyone should be treated as equal. (Answers may vary.)