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The National Herald (India)

Freedom is in Peril, Defend it with All Your Might
Type Daily
Owner(s) Congress Party of India
Founder(s) Jawaharlal Nehru
Founded 9th September, 1938
Language English
Ceased publication 1st April, 2008
Headquarters New Delhi
Sister newspapers Qaumi Awaz (Urdu) and Navjeevan (Hindi)
Country India
City New Delhi and Lucknow

The National Herald was an Indian newspaper established in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru. The paper finally ceased operations in 2008. Begun by Nehru at a time when he seemed unable to make an impact on the reactionary tendencies of the Congress Party it served as his mouthpiece allowing him to address and endorse unpopular stances that he would not have been able to defend as a politician through his editorial pieces for the paper. While the paper suffered from financial troubles from the outset and was shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, it finally ceased operations in 2008.[1]


The National Herald was established in Lucknow on September 9, 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru.[2] The paper carried on its masthead the words ‘Freedom is in Peril, Defend it with All Your Might' taken from a cartoon by Gabriel from Brentford, Middlesex that Indira Gandhi had forwarded to Nehru.[3] Jawaharlal Nehru was an early editor of the newspaper and until his appointment as Prime Minister was the Chairman of the Herald's Board of Directors.[4][5] In 1938, K. Rama Rao was appointed the paper's first editor. Following the Quit India Resolution of August 1942, the British Raj clamped down on the Indian press and the paper was shut between 1942 and 1945.[6] The Herald reopened in 1945 and from 1946 to 1950, Feroze Gandhi served as the paper's Managing Director, helping restore its financial health.[7] From 1946 to 1978, Manikonda Chalapathi Rau served as its editor.[6] Nehru gave Rau a free hand in running the paper and ensured its editorial independence even saying that though people thought the National Herald to be his paper, it really belonged to Chalapathi Rau who had made it what it had become. Nehru had served as the paper's international correspondent for a while and after becoming Prime Minister was able to use the paper to espouse unpopular views and to sidestep the press corps in conveying his thoughts on various issues to the reading public as in 1954 when he wrote a scathing piece on the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests titled 'The Death-dealer'.[8] The paper had editions from Lucknow and New Delhi, the latter begun in 1968.[6][9] In Delhi, the paper was based out of Herald House on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, known as Delhi's Fleet Street while in Lucknow it was based out of the Nehru Bhawan and Nehru Manzil buildings.[10] The National Herald also had Hindi and Urdu editions named Navjeevan and Qaumi Awaz.[11]

The paper's fortunes were closely tied with those of the Indian National Congress. Post Independence, it shut down for two years from 1977 following Indira Gandhi's defeat in the 1977 General Elections that followed the Emergency. By 1986, the paper again faced the prospect of closure but was revived a year later following Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's intervention. The Lucknow operations of the paper were shut down in 1998 and much of its property auctioned off under court orders to settle outstanding debts.[10]

In January 2008 discussions about closure began.[12] On 1 April 2008 the paper's editorial (of its sole remaining edition, New Delhi) announced that it was temporarily suspending operations. The paper had failed to modernise its print technology and had not computerised at the time of suspending operations and had been making losses for several years owing to lack of advertising revenues and overstaffing. At the time of its closure T V Venkitachalam was its editor-in-chief.[2]

Plans for Revival

The National Herald, before its closure was being run by Associated Journals. There were reports that the paper was being revived under journalist Suman Dubey, technocrat Sam Pitroda and the newly incorporated Young India Company headquartered at Herald House.[13][14] The paper was to have come out by Children's Day in 2011 but Rahul Gandhi, a member of the board of the Young Indian Company has denied any plans on the part of the company to revive the paper.[15][16]


In 2014, the court in Delhi, took up the issue of where the assets of Associated Journals (AJPL) who published The National Herald were distributed after the closure of the paper.[17][18] Earlier in 2012, Rahul Gandhi had said that he would sue over allegations that his company, 'Young Indian', acquired Associated Journals (AJPL) improperly.[19]


  1. Vadakut, Sidin (27 June 2014). "A Nehruvian tragedy". HT Mint. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "National Herald shuts down after 70 years". Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  3. Hasan, Mushirul (16 May 2012). "In another era, a wit that pulled no punches". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. 
  4. Rau, M. Chalapathi (1964). "The Press after Nehru" (PDF). Economic and Political Weekly (July): 1247–1250. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 June 2014. 
  5. Dayal, John (2007). A Matter of Equity: Freedom of Faith in Secular India. New Delhi: Anamika Publishers. p. 129. ISBN 9788179751770. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "In Memorium M. Chalapathi Rau (1908 - 1983)". Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. 
  7. Bhushan, Shashi (2008). Feroze Gandhi: A Political Biography. New Delhi: Frank Bros. p. 52. ISBN 9788184094947. 
  8. Vadakut, Sidin (27 June 2014). "A Nehruvian tragedy". HT Mint. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  9. General Knowledge Refresher. New Delhi: Bright Publications. p. 51. ISBN 9788171994717. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "National Herald fights for survival". The Indian Express. November 14, 1998. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  11. "New look national herald all set for relaunch". Hindustan Times. May 5, 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  12. "Nehru’s paper, The National Herald, may close". The Hindustani Times. 31 January 2008. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. 
  13. "National Herald may be revived through 'Young Indian'". Business Standard. October 9, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  14. "New look national herald all set for relaunch". Office of Adviser to Prime Minister. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  15. "National Herald newspaper eyes revival after four years of closure". NDTV Profit. October 28, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  16. "'No plans to revive National Herald'". The Pioneer. 11 October 2012. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. 
  17. "Delhi court summons Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi in National Herald case". The Times of India. 26 June 2014. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. 
  18. Singh, Soibam Rocky (26 June 2014). "Court summons Sonia, Rahul for alleged fraud". The Hindustani Times. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. 
  19. "Swamy alleges fraud, Rahul Gandhi says will sue". The Hindustani Times. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014.