India has the largest gross newspaper readership in the world. While some of that is understandable, given the massive population of India – one has to keep in mind that the the literacy rate in the country is around 60% – and literacy is quantified by the ability to sign one’s name correctly.
I was in India recently – and for the first time I noticed a trend that I havent seen before. And only probably, because this time, every morning, I would go out early to buy the day’s newspapers. And what I saw astounded me. Newspaper readership is so widespread – from the chaiwallas to the autowallas, from the Mother Dairy counter guy to the early morning Sabzi walla. Everyone would have a newspaper – either in English or in the vernacular – but the fact is, I would see a kind readership penetration, I rarely see in the United States – just as a layman.
The general arguments would be the prevalance of cable news – but then, that would be the same in both plances.
So I dont know what it is – I see in my educated middle-class peer circles, very few households even order newspapers. Even those from India.
So I think we are in good hands….a society that is naturally curious and wants to stay informed – portends well for it.