A few hundred miles to the west but still in northern India, Gupta family of Kanpur has transformed Dainik Jagran, which was born in the tumult of the independence movement, into a newspaper giant with the world's highest readership.

Leading the charge is a mix of old-world families like Guptas, who have combined first-mover advantage, street-fighting techniques and old political connections to build empires of their own, all in the space of a few years.


Gupta brothers, based in Kanpur - once known as the Manchester of the East for its colonial-era textile industry - publish 37 editions of their newspaper and 210 sub-editions to reach 55 million people, more than the population of South Africa.

With a presence in 11 states stretching from Kashmir in the Himalayas to West Bengal in the east, the low-key Guptas wield immense influence. A newspaper launched in 1942 as the Quit India movement to oust British rulers began, Dainik Jagran adapted early to foreign technology and finance.

Computers with Hindi-character keyboards came to the newspaper long before anyone in the vernacular press had thought about them. In 2010, private equity firm Blackstone Group ploughed 2.25 billion rupees into the holding company Jagran Prakashan Ltd, its first investment in a media company in the country.

"It reflects the growth that we see sweeping north India. Gone are the days when three to four families shared one newspaper or people read the paper in the village square," said Sanjay Gupta, chief executive officer of Jagran Prakashan.

"Now we are delivering the paper to individuals in villages. These villages are small towns in themselves now," Gupta added.
Perhaps the renaissance of the north is best reflected in the spectacular growth of Dainik Jagran newspaper on the back of increased literacy levels.


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