NCERT Solutions for Class 10 Social History Chapter 7 Print Culture and the Modern World

Q.1. Give reasons for the following :
(a) Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295. [CBSE 2013]
(b) Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of it.
(c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an Index of Prohibited books from the mid-sixteenth century.
(d) Gandhi said the fight for ‘Swaraj is a fight for the liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association.
Ans. (a) Refer Q.No. 5 HOTS.


  1. In 1517 Martin Luther wrote Ninety Five Theses criticising many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church.
  2. A printed copy of this was posted on a church door in Wittenberg.
  3. It challenged the Church to debate his ideas.
  4. Luther’s writings were immediately reproduced in vast numbers and read widely.
  5. This led to a division within the Church and to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
  6. Luther’s translation of the New Testament sold 5,000 copies within a few weeks and a second edition appeared within three months. All this became possible due to printing technology. Deeply grateful to print, Luther said, “Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.”
  7. Several scholars, in fact, think that the print brought about a new intellectual atmosphere and helped spread the new ideas that led to the Reformation.

(c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an Index of Prohibited Books from the mid-sixteenth century due to the following reasons :

  1. The print and popular religious literature encouraged many distinctive individual interpretations of faith even among little-educated working people. For example, Manocchio, a miller in Italy, after reading some books available in his locality, reinterpreted the message of the Bible and formulated a view of God and Creation that enraged the Roman Catholic Church. Various types of questions were raised against the faith and the Church. Manocchio was hauled up twice and ultimately executed.
  2. As the Roman Catholic Church was troubled by such writings, it imposed severe controls over publishers and began to maintain an Index of Prohibited Books from 1558.

(d) Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for the liberty of speech, liberty of the press, and freedom of association due to the following reasons :

  1. After the revolt of 1857, as the vernacular press became assertively nationalist, the colonial government tried to control it. Thus in 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed modelled on the Irish Press Laws. It provided the government with extensive rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular press. Whenever there was a seditious report, the newspaper was warned and if the warning was ignored, the press was liable to be seized and the printing machinery confiscated.
  2. When Punjab revolutionaries were deported in 1907, Bal Gangadhar Tilak wrote with great sympathy about them in his Kesari. This led to his imprisonment in 1908. There were widespread protests all over India.
  3. During the First World War under the Defence of India Rules, 22 newspapers had to furnish securities. Of these, 18 shut down rather than comply with government orders.
  4. Similarly during the Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement, the Government of India was trying to crush the three powerful vehicles of expressing (Liberty of speech, liberty of press, and freedom of association) and cultivating public opinion. Thus the fight for Swaraj was a fight for this freedom than anything else.

Q.2. Write short notes to show that you know about:
(a) The Gutenberg Press.
(b) The Erasmus’s idea of the printed book.
(c) The Vernacular Press Act. [CBSE Sept. 2011, 2012]
Ans. (a) Refer Q.No. 4, Long Answer Type Questions.

(b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book: Erasmus, a Latin scholar, and a Catholic reformer, who criticized the excesses of Catholicism, but kept his distance from, Luther, expressed deep anxiety about printing. He wrote in Adages (1508) :
‘To what corner of the world do they not fly, these swarms of new books? It may be that one here and there contributes something worth knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful to scholarship because it creates a glut and even in good things, satiety is most harmful… [printers] fill the world with books, not just trifling things (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious books and the number of them is such that even the valuable publications lose their value.’

(c) The Vernacular Press Act: The revolt of 1857 forced the government to curb the freedom of the press. After the revolt, enraged Englishmen demanded a clampdown on the ‘native’ press. As vernacular newspapers became assertively nationalist, the colonial government began debating measures of strict control.

In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed, on the model of Irish Press Laws. It provided the government with extensive rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular press. The government started keeping regular track of the vernacular newspapers published in different provinces. When a report was judged as seditious, the newspapers were given a warning and if the warning was ignored, the press was liable to be seized, and the printing machinery could be confiscated.

Q.3. What did the spread of print culture in the nineteenth century India mean to :
(a) Women
(b) The poor
(c) Reformers
Ans. (a) Refer Q. No. 17, Long Answer Type Questions.
(b) Refer Q. No. 3, Value Based Questions.

(c) Reformers: From the early nineteenth century there were intense debates around religious issues. Different groups differed on interpretations of the beliefs of different religions. Criticism and campaigns were going on. The coming of print made a lot of difference as mentioned below:

  1. The coming of print culture meant that the reformers could now spread their ideas more quickly among the masses.
  2. The debates on existing practices were printed in newspapers and journals.
  3. A large number of people could now participate in debates relating to religious and social reforms.
  4. New ideas emerged through these debates about widow immolation, monotheism, Brahmanical priesthood and idolatry.
  5. Different ideas were printed in the everyday spoken language of ordinary people. For example, Raja Rammohan Roy published the Sambad Kaumudi from 1821 to spread his ideas.
  6. The reformers used the print culture to reach the masses.
  7. In addition to this, social reformers used the print culture to restrict excessive drinking among workers to spread literacy.
  8. Among Muslims, the Ulama used cheap lithographic presses, published Persian and Urdu translations of holy scriptures, and printed religious newspapers and tracts. The meanings of Islamic doctrines were explained.
  9. Among Hindus, too, print encouraged the reading of religious texts, especially in the vernacular languages. The first printed edition of the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas came out from Calcutta in 1810.
  10. By the mid-nineteenth century, cheap lithographic editions flooded north Indian markets. From the 1880s the Naval Kishore Press at Lucknow and the Shri Venkateshwar Press in Bombay published numerous religious texts in vernaculars. These texts reached a large number of people encouraging debates, discussions on various issues.

Q.4. Write about the different innovations in printing technology during the 19th century? [CBSE Sept. 2010]
Ans. (i) By the mid-nineteenth century, Richard M. Hoe of New York had perfected the power-driven cylindrical press. This was capable of printing 8,000 sheets per hour. This press was particularly useful for printing newspapers.
(ii) In the late nineteenth century, the offset press was developed which could print up to six colours at a time.
(iii) From the turn of the twentieth century, electrically operated presses accelerated printing operations.

Q.5. Why did some people in the eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism? [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2011]
Assess the impact of print revolution on the European society. [CBSE 2013]
Ans. (i) Spreading of new ideas: After the coming of the print culture, the ideas of scientists and philosophers now became more accessible to the common people. Ancient and medieval scientific texts were compiled and published.
(ii) Scientific discoveries: Maps and more accurate scientific diagrams were widely printed. When scientists like Issac Newton began to publish their discoveries, they could influence a much wider circle of scientifically-minded readers.
(iii) Writings of scholars: The writings of thinkers such as Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau were also widely printed, and could gain popularity. Thus, their ideas about science, reasoning and rationality found their way into popular literature.
(iv) Books as a medium of progress: By the mid-18th century, books became a medium of spreading progress and enlightenment which could change society and the world. It was also believed that the books could literate society from despotism and tyranny.
(v) Ideas of enlightened thinkers: The print popularised the ideas of the enlightened thinkers like that of Martin Luther who attacked the authority of the Church and the despotic power of the state, e.g., Voltaire and Rousseau.
(vi) A new culture of dialogue and debate: The print created a new culture of dialogue and debate and the public, became aware of reasoning and recognized the need to question the existing ideas and beliefs.

Q.6. Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example from Europe and one from India. [CBSE Sept. 2011]
Explain the role played by print in bringing about a division in the Roman Catholic Church. [CBSE Sept. 2011]
Explain the role played by print in the spreading of Protestant Reformation. [CBSE 2012, 2013]
Ans. Not everyone welcomed the 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 was criticized by religious authorities, monarchs, as well as by writers and artists.

Let us consider the implication of this in one sphere of life in early modern Europe, i.e., religion. Martin Luther was a German monk, priest, professor, and Church reformer. In 1517, he wrote Ninety Five Theses 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.

Manx; conservative FUndus believed that a literate girl would be widowed and Muslims believed that educated women could get corrupted by reading Urdu romances. There were many instances of women defying this prohibition.

Q.7. What were the effects of the spread of print culture for the poor people in the nineteenth century India ?
Ans. Refer Q. No. 3, Value Based Questions.

Q.8. Explain how the print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India. [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2011]
Ans. (i) New ideas and debates : There were many who criticised the existing practices and campaigned for reforms, while others countered the arguments of the reformers. These debates were carried out openly in public and in print. Printed tracts and newspapers not only spread the new ideas, but they also shaped the nature of the debate. All this assisted the growth of nationalism.

(ii) Connecting various communities : Print did not only stimulate the publication of conflicting opinions amongst communities, but it also connected communities and people living in different parts of India. Newspapers conveyed news from one place to another, creating pan-Indian identities.

(iii) Print and newspaper : Despite repressive measures, nationalist newspapers grew in numbers in all parts of India. They reported on colonial misrule and encouraged nationalist activities. When Punjab revolutionaries were deported in 1907, Bal Gangadhar Tilak wrote with great sympathy about them in Kesari.

(iv) Various novels on national history: Many novels written by Indian novelists like Bankim’s Anandamath created a sense of pan-Indian belonging. Munshi Premchand’s novel, Godan highlighted how Indian peasants were exploited by the colonial bureaucrats.

(v) Various images of Bharatmata : Printers like Raja Ravi Verma and Rabindranath Tagore produced images of Bharatmata which produced a sense of nationalism among Indians. The devotion to mother figure came to be seen as evidence of one’s nationalism.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which one of the following is the oldest Japanese book? [CBSE (CCE) 2011]
(a) Sutta Pitaka
(b) Diamond Sutra
(c) Maha Vamsa
(d) Dipa Vamsa

2. The first printing press was developed by [CBSE (CCE) 2011]
(a) Marco Polo
(b) Kitagawa Utamaro
(c) Johann Gutenberg
(d) Erasmus

3. Who wrote about the injustices of the caste system in ‘Gulamgiri’? [CBSE (CCE) 2011]
(a) Raja Rammohan Roy
(b) Jyotiba Phule
(c) Bal Gangadhar Tilak
(d) Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

4. Who among the following is an enlightened thinker whose writings are said to have created conditions for a revolution in France? [CBSE (CCE) 2011]
(a) Rousseau
(b) Louise Setastin Mercier
(c) Menocchio
(d) Johann Gutenberg

5. Which religious reformer was responsible for the Reformation Movement?
(a) Martin Luther
(b) Martin Luther King
(c) The Grimm Brothers
(d) George Elliot

6. Who among the following was not a women novelist?
(a) Jane Austen
(b) Bronte Sisters
(c) George Eliot
(d) Maxim Gorky

7. Which of the following countries was the earliest producer of printing material?
(a) Persia
(b) India
(c) China
(d) Japan

8. From where did Marcopolo bring back the knowledge of woodblock printing to Italy?
(a) China
(b) Japan
(c) Sri Lanka
(d) India

9. By whom was the New Testament first translated?
(a) Erasmus
(b) Leonardo da Vince
(c) Martin Luther
(d) Manocchio

10. In ancient India which of the following material was used for writing manuscripts?
(a) Parchments
(b) Vellum
(c) Palm leaves
(d) Paper

11. Name the first weekly magazine published in India by Gangadhar Bhattacharya.
(a) Anandabazar Patrika
(b) Bengal Gazette
(c) Yugantar
(d) Sambad Kaumudi

12. By whom was ‘Sambad Kaumudi’ published’ in 1821?
(a) Iswer Chandra Vidyasagar
(b) C.R. Das
(c) Raja Rammohun Roy
(d) Swami Vivekanand

13. ‘Amar Jiban’ is the autobiography of which of the following woman author?
(a) Rashsundari Debi
(b) Rokeya Hossein
(c) Kailashbashini Devi
(d) Pandita Ramabai

14. Who among the following was popularly known as Periyar?
(a) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
(b) Jyotiba Phule
(c) E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker
(d) S. Naidu

15. Which one of the following best explains calligraphy?
(a) The art of painting
(b) The art of map drawing
(c) The art of beautiful and stylised writing
(d) The art of sketching

16. ‘Edo’ was the earlier name of which of the following places?
(a) Shanghai
(b) Tokyo
(c) Seoul
(d) Hongkong

17. Vellum refers to
(a) parchment made from the skin of animals.
(b) written material made from the bark of trees.
(c) paper made out of the pulp.
(d) written material made from cloth.

18. Who was Marcopolo ?
(a) German scientist
(b) English philosopher
(c) Spanish explorer
(d) Italian traveller/explorer

19. Which of the following inspired Gutenberg to design and model a printing press?
(a) Woodblock printing of China
(b) Olive press in agricultural estates
(c) Handwritten manuscripts
(d) Print technology of Japan

20 Martin Luther’s writings and ideas led to which of the following movements?
(a) Counter-Reformation Movement
(b) Renaissance Movement
(c) Reformation Movement
(d) Intellectual Movement

21. The reformation movement was launched against the corrupt practices of which of the following group?
(a) Feudal Lords
(b) Protestant Church
(c) Catholic Church
(d) Absolute rulers

22. Which of the following refers to ‘inquisition’?
(a) Protestant tribunal to punish heretics
(b) Catholic court to try and punish the heretics
(c) The state judicial body for punishing the criminals
(d) All the above

23. Aim of the Protestant Reformation was to
(a) reform religion
(b) reform the Catholic church
(c) reform Jewish religion
(d) to protest against all reform

24. Erasmus was a
(a) Latin scholar and Catholic reformer
(b) French scholar who advocated Protestantism
(c) Swedish scholar who translated the Bible
(d) British scholar who opposed Catholic Church

25. What were chapbooks?
(a) Books which were cheap
(b) The pocket-size books sold by travelling peddler
(c) Book sold on the footpath
(d) Handwritten books

26. An alamnac refers to
(a) a ritual calendar
(b) a dictionary
(c) a religious book
(d) a long poem

27. In France what was known as ‘Biliotheque Bleue’?
(a) A blue coloured book
(b) A blue coloured, cheap book made out of poor quality paper
(c) A book made of excellent blue silk for rich people
(d) A blue coloured writing pad

28. Which 18th-century French novelist declared, ‘The printing press is the most powerful engine of progress’ ?
(a) Rousseau
(b) Voltaire
(c) Mercier
(d) Montesquieh

29. The print culture created a condition for which of the following revolutions?
(a) French Revolution
(b) Russian Revolution
(c) Glorious Revolution
(d) American Revolution

30. Penny magazine was meant only for
(a) old people
(b) poor people
(c) women
(d) children

31. The scribes refer to
(a) Authors
(b) Poets
(c) Skilled hand writers
(d) Skilled painters

32. Which of the following refers to print revolution?
(a) Invention of the printing press
(b) Shift from hand printing to mechanical printing
(c) Revolt of people against printed matters
(d) Handwritten manuscripts for printed books

33. Mark the correct response. Due to the invention of printing press
(a) reading culture developed
(b) cost of books was reduced
(c) the time and labour required to produce books came down
(d) all the above

34. Richard M. Hoe of New York was well known for
(a) inventing the printing press
(b) perfecting the power-driven cylindrical press
(c) for inventing woodblock printing
(d) for inventing the electrical typing machine.

35. Why was James Augustus Hickey persecuted by Governor-General Warren Hastings?
(a) For poor editing of Bengal Gazette
(b) For publishing a lot of gossip about the company’s Senior Official
(c) For writing propaganda material against the Indian
(d) For publishing sub-standard material

36. With what purpose was the Vernacular Press Act passed by Lord Lyton in 1878?
(a) To popularise Vernacular Press
(b) To supervise Vernacular Press
(c) To clamp down and censor the native press
(d) To encourage authors to write in Indian languages.

37. Why was the Vernacular Act of 1878 opposed by the Indians ?
(a) It did not allow the Indian authors to write in their newspapers.
(b) It challenged the freedom of press of the Indians.
(c) It encouraged the Indians to publish religious materials in the newspapers.
(d) To defy colonialism.

38. How did nationalist newspapers inspire nationalism in India? Mark the most appropriate answer.
(a) By writing various articles in the newspapers.
(b) By publishing the speeches of nationalist leaders.
(c) By reporting the colonialism is the rule and encouraging nationalist activities through the press.
(d) By encouraging Indian authors.


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