The Times of India (TOI) is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world according to Audit Bureau of Circulations (India). It is the oldest English-language newspaper in India, and the second-oldest Indian newspaper still in circulation since its first edition published in 1838. It is nicknamed as "The Old Lady of Bori Bunder", and is an Indian "newspaper of record".
Near the beginning of the 20th century, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, called The Times of India "the leading paper in Asia". In 1991, the BBC ranked The Times of India among the world's six best newspapers.
It is owned and published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (B.C.C.L.), which is owned by the Sahu Jain family. In the Brand Trust Report 2012, The Times of India was ranked 88th among India's most-trusted brands. In 2017, however, the newspaper was ranked 355th.
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The Times of India issued its first edition on 3 November 1838 as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce. The paper was published on Wednesdays and Saturdays under the direction of Raobahadur Narayan Dinanath Velkar, a Maharashtrian social reformer, and contained news from Britain and the world, as well as the Indian Subcontinent. J.E. Brennan was its first editor. In 1850, it began to publish daily editions.
In 1860, editor Robert Knight (1825–1892) bought the Indian shareholders' interests, merged with rival Bombay Standard, and started India's first news agency. It wired Times dispatches to papers across the country and became the Indian agent for Reuters news service. In 1861, he changed the name from the Bombay Times and Standard to The Times of India. Knight fought for a press free of prior restraint or intimidation, frequently resisting the attempts by governments, business interests, and cultural spokesmen and led the paper to national prominence. In the 19th century, this newspaper company employed more than 800 people and had a sizeable circulation in India and Europe.
Bennett and Coleman ownership
Subsequently, The Times of India saw its ownership change several times until 1892 when an English journalist named Thomas Jewell Bennett along with Frank Morris Coleman (who later drowned in the 1915 sinking of the SS Persia) acquired the newspaper through their new joint stock company, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
Sir Stanley Reed edited The Times of India from 1907 until 1924 and received correspondence from the major figures of India such as Mahatma Gandhi. In all he lived in India for fifty years. He was respected in the United Kingdom as an expert on Indian current affairs. He christened Jaipur as "the Pink City of India".
Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd was sold to sugar magnate Ramkrishna Dalmia of the then-famous industrial family, the Dalmias, for ₹20 million (US$280,000) in 1946, as India was becoming independent and the British owners were leaving. In 1955 the Vivian Bose Commission of Inquiry found that Ramkrishna Dalmia, in 1947, had engineered the acquisition of the media giant Bennett Coleman & Co. by transferring money from a bank and an insurance company of which he was the Chairman. In the court case that followed, Ramkrishna Dalmia was sentenced to two years in Tihar Jail after having been convicted of embezzlement and fraud.
But for most of the jail term he managed to spend in hospital. Upon his release, his son-in-law, Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, to whom he had entrusted the running of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. rebuffed his efforts to resume command of the company.
Jain family (Shanti Prasad Jain)
In the early 1960s, Shanti Prasad Jain was imprisoned on charges of selling newsprint on the black market. And based on the Vivian Bose Commission's earlier report which found wrongdoings of the Dalmia – Jain group, that included specific charges against Shanti Prasad Jain, the Government of India filed a petition to restrain and remove the management of Bennett, Coleman and Company. Based on the pleading, the Justice directed the Government to assume control of the newspaper which resulted in replacing half of the directors and appointing a Bombay High Court judge as the Chairman.
Under the Government of India
The Times of India on a 1988 stamp
The Times of India on a 2013 stamp Following the Vivian Bose Commission report indicating serious wrongdoings of the Dalmia–Jain group, on 28 August 1969, the Bombay High Court, under Justice J. L. Nain, passed an interim order to disband the existing board of Bennett, Coleman & Co and to constitute a new board under the Government. The bench ruled that "Under these circumstances, the best thing would be to pass such orders on the assumption that the allegations made by the petitioners that the affairs of the company were being conducted in a manner prejudicial to public interest and to the interests of the Company are correct". Following that order, Shanti Prasad Jain ceased to be a director and the company ran with new directors on board, appointed by the Government of India, with the exception of a lone stenographer of the Jains. Curiously, the court appointed D K Kunte as Chairman of the Board. Kunte had no prior business experience and was also an opposition member of the Lok Sabha.
Back to the Jain family
In 1976, during the Emergency in India, the Government transferred ownership of the newspaper back to Ashok Kumar Jain, who was Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain's son and Ramkrishna Dalmia's grandson. He is the father of the current owners Samir Jain and Vineet Jain). The Jains too often landed themselves in various money laundering scams and Ashok Kumar Jain had to flee the country when the Enforcement Directorate pursued his case strongly in 1998 for alleged violations of illegal transfer of funds (to the tune of US$1.25 million) to an overseas account in Switzerland.
During the Emergency
On 26 June 1975, the day after India declared a state of emergency, the Bombay edition of The Times of India carried an entry in its obituary column that read "D.E.M. O'Cracy, beloved husband of T.Ruth, father of L.I.Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justice expired on 25 June". The move was a critique of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's 21-month state of emergency, which is now widely known as "the Emergency" and seen by many as a roundly authoritarian era of Indian government.
The Times in the 21st century
In late 2006, Times Group acquired Vijayanand Printers Limited (VPL). VPL previously published two Kannada newspapers, Vijay Karnataka and Usha Kiran, and an English daily, Vijay Times. Vijay Karnataka was the leader in the Kannada newspaper segment then.
The paper launched a Chennai edition, 12 April 2008. It launched a Kolhapur edition, February 2013.
Introduced in 2013 and awarded for the second time in 2016, "The Times of India Film Awards" or the "TOIFA" is an award for the work in Film Industry decided by a global public vote on the nomination categories.