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450 YEARS OF PRINTING IN INDIA (6.8.1556 - 6.8.2006)
Pratap Naik, S.J.

The origin of the art of printing can be traced back to China, where it was
the need for religious literature and pictures in connection with the
propagation of Buddhism.  Block printing is believed to have been used for
printing portraits of the Buddha in 650 A. D.  In 1907 Sir Aurel Stein
discovered in caves of China a book entitled Hiraka Sutra, which dates back
to 868 A.D.  This is believed to be the oldest printed book so far known.
In Europe, printing with the use of movable types began in the fifteenth
century, although block printing was known much earlier. Even in Europe the
credit for the invention of the movable types is variously ascribed to
Gutenberg (Germany), Coster (Holland), Johannes Brito (Belgium), Pamfilo
Castalde (Italy).  The first available book in which the date of printing is
mentioned was printed in 1457 by Fust and Schoeffer.
Before September 1556 the word print was unknown to Indian.  It was only in
1556   when Jesuit brother Juan de Bustamante (1536-1588), who knew the art
of printing landed Goa with the printing press.   The art of printing
entered India for the first time on September 6, 1556 through Jesuits.  The
printing press was attached to St. Paul College, Goa. Its advent was in the
nature of a happy accident.  Generally it was as an aid to evangelization
that the printing press was taken outside Europe. We find, for instance, St.
Francis Xavier in a letter written in 1549 expressing a desire that
Christian literature should be printed in the Japanese language.  In Goa
however, it appears that the no urgent need for the printing press was felt
at this time and there was a tendency to place exclusive reliance on
political power to help the spread of Christianity.
The printing press, which eventually arrived in Goa, was intended to help
missionary work in Abyssinia; but circumstances conspired to detain it in
Goa on its way to that country.  The Patriarch designate of Abyssinia along
with 14 Jesuits accompanied printing press.  The Suez Canal was not in
existence during this period, persons going to Abyssinia from Portugal
followed the Cape route to India, touched Goa to proceed to Abyssinia.  In
January 1557, when the Patriarch was busy making preparations for leaving
Abyssinia, the Governor of asked him to stay in Goa. He accordingly stayed
in Goa, where he died on December 22, 1562 and thus the press, which he was
caring never, left Goa.
João de Bustamante, a Spaniard, came to India with the printing press, and
he must therefore be considered as the pioneer of the art of printing in
India.  He was born in  Valencia in Spain round about 1536.  In 1556 he
joined the Society of Jesus and was ordained in 1564.  According to known
Jesuit historian Fr. Wicki, Jesuit records show that in 1563 his name was
changed to João Rodrigues.  He died on August 23, 1588.
The credit for preparing the first types of an Indian script goes to another
Jesuit Joao Gonsalves, another Spaniard who accompanied Bustamante to Goa.
He was an expert blacksmith. He was the first who made in India types of
Malabar letters (Tamil).
Some of the literature known to have printed in Goa:
* 1556. Conclusões e outras coisas (Theses and other things)
* 1557. St. Francisco Xavier.  Doutrina Christam
No copy of First Edition is available.  MSS copies dating 1548-1614 are
preserved in Lisbon and Rome
1557. Confecionarios
* 1560. Gonçalo Rodrigues.  Tratado contra os erros scismaticos dos Abexins
(A Tract against the Schismatic Errors of the Abyssinians).
João Bustamante printed the four books mentioned above.
No extant printed copy of the above mentioned book is available.
* 1556-1561. Doutrina Cristam (Christian Doctrine) printed probably in
Konkani, at Colegio de São Paulo, Goa, at some date between October 1556 and
December 1561.  No surviving copy of this book is recorded.  This was the
first Konknni book printed in Goa.
* 1561. Gaspar de Leão. Compendio Spiritual da Vida Christam.  (Spiritual
Compendium of the Christian Life).  A copy of the book is available in the
New York Public Library.  The printers of this book are João de Quinquencio
and João de Endem.  This is the earliest book printed in Goa, which is
available at present.

After the arrival of the press the printing of books was started.  From
1556-1588 the books were printed.  After 1588 no record of anything printed
is available.  Some literature known to have been printed in Goa during the
Seventeenth century as no trace of any book published in Goa during the next
twenty seven years until 1615.
1616 Thomas Stephens.  Discurso sobre a vinda de Jusu Christo Nosso Salvador
ao Mundo (Discourse on the Coming of the Christ to the World).  No printed
copy of this book is available.
This is the famous Purana by Fr. Stephens, which is written n literary
Marathi.  The next two editions of this work were printed in 1649 and 1654.
But none of these have survived this day.
1622. Thomas Stephens.  Doutrina Christam.  This work on Christian Doctrine
in the form of dialogue is written in the dialect spoken by Goa Brahmins.
This was written by the author before the Purana.  A copy is available in
the Government Library and another in the library of the Vatican in Rome.

1632    Diogo Ribeiro.  Declaracam da Doutrina Christam.  (A statement
of the Christian Doctrine).  This was written in the Brahmin dialect of Goa.
A copy is available in the Government library in Lisbon.
All the three works mentioned above were printed at the Rachol College
The printing press at St. Paul College ceased working in 1573. It was
shifted to the college of St. Lourenço at Rachol in Salcette. This press
continued to function in Goa till 1674. The establishment of the printing
press in Goa was intended to serve as an aid to effective evangelization.
Printing activity continued to prosper so long as the importance of local
languages for the purpose of evangelization was fully appreciated. Gradually
the zeal for missionary work was decreased and certain persons succeeded in
persuading the ruling powers that Indian languages were not only not helpful
but were actually a hindrance in the work of evangelization.  As a
consequence, the activities of the printing press in Goa declined.

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