Deccan Herald

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Deccan Herald
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)The Printers, Mysore[1]
Founder(s)K.N. Guruswamy
Staff writers160 news staff (2018)
Founded1948; 73 years ago (1948)
Political alignmentIndependent
Headquarters75 MG Road Bangalore, Karnataka 560001.
Circulation253,253 Daily (Audit Bureau of Circulations July-Dec 2017)
Readership560,000 (IRS 2017)
OCLC number185061134
Free online

Deccan Herald (DH) is an English language daily newspaper published from the Indian state of Karnataka by The Printers (Mysore) Private Limited, a family business run by the Nettakallappa family. It has seven editions printed from Bengaluru, Hubballi, Davanagere, Hosapete, Mysuru, Mangaluru, and Kalburgi.[2]

History and Background[edit]

Deccan Herald was launched on June 17, 1948. According to Gautham Machaiah,[3] its owners purchased a dance club -- Funnel's owned by an Irish couple. The intention was of starting a movie theatre (there were already two other theatres on either side -- Plaza and Liberty) but then opted for a newspaper, despite having "zero experience in journalism or print business".[3]

Founder K.N. Guruswamy (1901–1990) was the eldest son of a prominent businessman of Ballari (Bellary), who later shifted to Bangalore, and the family belonged to the Ediga community, which was traditionally involved in toddy tapping. They won excise contracts and expanded their business across (then known as Mysore, now Karnataka). Bangalore was then under the Mysore kingdom, ruled by the Wodeyers, and lacked an English newspaper in those times. The then Diwan of Mysore, Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliar, is believed to have been instrumental in convincing Guruswamy to start an English-language daily and he launched the firm The Printers (Mysore) Pvt Ltd.[3] Justice P P Medappa, later the state's chief justice, suggested the name Deccan Herald.[3]

Of the Rs 500,000 capital, some 75% came from Guruswamy. Other shareholders were K. Venkataswamy, Moola Rangappa, M K Swamy and Dondusa, according to Machaiah. He documents the challenges of getting it started. Deccan Herald was initially launched as an eight-page tabloid paper, priced at one anna. It later became a broadsheet.

Deccan Herald launched a sister daily in Kannada, called Prajavani. T. S. Ramachandra Rao was its first editor. It has played a prominent role in the world of Kannada newspaper journalism. Subsequent publications launched by the group include lifestyle magazine Sudha (initiated in 1965 and edited by E.R. Sethuram) and the literary magazine Mayura, launched in 1968.[3]

Only in 1956, eight years after launch, was the newspaper able to break even. Earlier, Guruswamy had to depend on bank loans and selling all but three of the 35 buildings he had purchased from proceeds of his excise business. Guruswamy moved out of from the liquor business by 1986.

Guruswamy, being without an heir, adopted his brother K.N. Anjanappa's son K.A. Nettakallappa, who became a well-known journalist but died young at the age of 47. Nettakallappa and Prajavani editor Ramachandra Rao are credited with playing a pioneering role in founding the Press Club of Bangalore.[3]

Nettakallappa's sons -- K.N. Hari Kumar, K.N. Tilak Kumar, and K.N. Shanth Kumar -- have been at the helm of the publications.[3] The publications adopt a policy of "objectivity, integrity, impartiality and truth flying high". Its tagline currently (2019) is "The Power of Good."[3]

Recent status[edit]

Sitaraman Shankar is the editor, as of August 2019.[4]

In August 2019, the Deccan Herald relaunched its newspaper with a "revamped look to attract younger readers.[5] Edinburgh-based Palmer Watson Words and Pictures design agency Deccan Herald has revamped its look. The English daily has got a new masthead in aqua blue, a colour to attract younger audience who need coaxing to pick up a newspaper. It added a new business section on Mondays, a Sunday opinion page called The Prism, and an entertainment section Showtime on Saturdays focussing on showbiz and streaming platforms, besides creating a Travel & Living supplement on Tuesdays.[5][4]

Achievements and Setbacks[edit]

Quoting the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) for the year 2013, the Deccan Herald announced that it had "emerged as one of the top ten English dailies in the country".[6] IRS 2013 termed the Deccan Herald as the eighth largest English-language daily in India, average issue readership-wise. The newspaper’s average issue readership stands at 4,58,000, including 3,38,000 in Bangalore city."[6]

Deccan Herald was one of the early Indian newspapers to launch its own website, on April 15, 1996, and claims "14 million page views per month; over 1,200 stories are published every day with a contingent of about 750 journalists and contributors"[3] as of 2018. It was one of the early publications to hire women journalists in India. Its Bengaluru printing is now done at Kumbalgodu, -- a town on the outskirts of Bengaluru, of over ten thousand population -- since 1998. It has been printing in colour in its main edition since 1985.

Deccan Herald has also faced its own share of setbacks. Plans for both an evening English-language daily and a New Delhi edition did not succeed. Since the late 1990s, it has faced competition from other English-language newspapers entering the city.[3]


Mohammad the Idiot[edit]

Mohammad the Idiot was a controversial short story published in the Sunday magazine supplement of the Deccan Herald newspaper in December 1986.[7]

The story was about a handicapped, half-witted boy named Mohammad who committed suicide due to the travails of his family suffering from poverty. It was a fictional story originally written by PKN Namboodri a decade earlier in Malayalam language and had nothing to do with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It created no turmoil when first published in the Kannada language.[8] However, Muslims in the city of Bengaluru took that story as a reference to their prophet and protested violently.[9] Marchers went on a rampage and attacked police personnel in the city of Bengaluru, Mysore, and Mandya.[10] Curfew was declared in Bengaluru and its suburban areas. The newspaper's editor, who happened to be its publisher, was arrested for ‘fomenting enmity between two communities and writing articles in a manner prejudicial to public peace.’ However, he was soon released on bail.[11] At least 16 lives were lost, primarily to police gunfire, and over 175 arrests were made.[12]

Notable employees and associates (past and present)[edit]

  • K.N. Guruswamy, (1901-1990), Founder and former Chairman
  • Pothan Joseph, Founding Editor, celebrated writer whose column Over a cup of tea soon became a sensation
  • S Krishna Rau, a luminary in the field of journalism
  • E V Scott, a seaman-turned-news editor
  • Ron Hendricks, made the sports pages the most popular section of the newspaper
  • T.S. Ramachandra Rao, first editor of Prajavani
  • E.R. Sethuram, first editor of lifestyle mag Sudha
  • K.N. Hari Kumar, former Editor-in-Chief
  • K.N. Tilak Kumar, former Editor-in-Chief
  • K.N. Shanth Kumar former Editor-in-Chief
  • Rajan Bala, former Sports Editor
  • Suresh Menon (sports writer), former Reporter
  • Ajit Bhattacharjea, former Editorial Adviser and Columnist
  • Kuldip Nayar, Columnist and Director on the Board
  • M J Akbar, former Columnist
  • B V Ramamurthy, former Cartoonist


  1. ^ "Deccan Herald,Prajavani,Sudha,Mayura".
  2. ^ "The Printers Mysore". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "#70YearsofDH: The story..." Deccan Herald. 16 June 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Deccan Herald: Note from the Editor". Deccan Herald. 5 August 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b Delhi, BestMediaInfo Bureau; August 05; 2019. "Deccan Herald relaunches in a new avatar". Retrieved 23 September 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b "Deccan Herald among top 10 English dailies". Deccan Herald. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  7. ^ "4 Killed and 50 Hurt in Riots Over Indian Magazine Article". The New York Times. 8 December 1986.
  8. ^ "The Taslima Nasrin "article" that cost two lives". Sans Serif. 2 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Caught in a cliché". Deccan Chronicle. 5 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Moslems rampage in India over magazine story". United Press International. 9 December 1986.
  11. ^ "India Moslems Riot A 3d Day Over Story". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Death Toll Reaches 16 in Rioting Over Short Story". AP NEWS. Retrieved 7 October 2020.

External links[edit]