History of Public Relations in India is as old as history of human civilisation. It has existed in one form or the other. So the history of public relations in India is observed from great religious teachers from Gautama Buddha and Sankaracharya to Nanak and Kabir were master communicators. They preached, in an idiom, which the common people found easy to understand.
The rock inscriptions of emperor Ashoka were written in local dialects for easy communication. He also sent his own children to Sri Lanka to spread the message of Buddhism.
Mythological evidence Public Relations:
India can relate to public relations in its mythology which can be described as ‘Mythological Public Relations’. The history of public relations in India can be traced from the two great epics- the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, provide various traces. It is immense pride, that give accounts of various communication techniques.
These techniques are adopted by the renowned characters of these epics to maintain relationships between the various rulers . Since then the power of effective communication came into existence.
Evolution of Public Relations:
Centuries of slavery beginning with the Mughal rule followed by the Englishmen. This brought a new type of Public Relations on movement for Independence. The rulers tried to put forth that they were working for the people of this country. Also that the people should cooperate in their continuance.
Besides adopting various administrative policies, they launched communication strategies. William Augustus Hickey brought out the first newspaper in India in 1780. Its major purpose was to deliver to the interests of the European settlers in Calcutta.
The Rise of Newspapers:
Newspapers too give an understanding of the history of public relations in India at the same time because it became a means of educating and enlightening the people. They also highlighted various socially important issues. This in a way acted as a mediator for the growth of public opinion.
Early beginnings of Public Relations in India:
After Independence (1947), the Government of India set up a full-fledged sector by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This was a revolutionary measure in the information and public relations setup of the Central Government. All the State Governments and Union Territories also have Departments of Information and Public Relations.
The activities of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting can be broadly divided into three sectors:
Each of these sectors are complement to each other. They operate through specialised media units and their respective organizations.
After Independence, multinational companies in India, felt the need to communicate with the people more meaningfully. In order to adjust their corporate policies, these companies increasingly turned to Public Relations.
At that time the Tatas had already set up a Public Relations Department in Mumbai in 1943. It was headed by Shri Minoo Masani.
Growth of Public Relations in India:
The public sector has, however, made a significant contribution in nurturing and growing professionalism in public relations. Public relations came into existence in full power with some of the industries. They include, HMT, BHEL, Bhilai Steel Plant, followed NTPC and many more. Bodies like this have played a major role in professionalization of PR discipline.
Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) was set up in 1958. It is the national association for professional development of public relations practitioners and communication specialists. It seeks to promote public relations as an integral function of the management.
Public Relations Consultants Association of India
PRCAI was founded in October 4, 2001. The Public Relations Consultants Association of India was a main head under which are a group of seven PR Firms – Weber Shandwick, Genesis PR (Now Genesis BCW), Hanmer MSL (Now MSL), Text 100, Good Relations India, Ogilvy PR, 20:20 Media (now 20:20 MSL). Its aim is to support the budding PR industry and communications professionals across the country.
PRCAI is not only the Indian PR industry’s flagship trade association but also a forum for government, public bodies, industry associations, trade and others to confer with public relations consultants through one body. The PRCAI has a strong North, South, East and West regional network which provides a lot of support to its members.
Continue Reading: The Growth of Public Relations in India
Navya Penmetsa is a Content Strategy Intern at the School of Communication & Reputation (SCoRe). She has worked with Echobox Content Writing and is currently working as WizCounsel Professional.
She is pursuing her final year under-graduation in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature. She wants to establish her career in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She has good command over communication and leadership qualities. She can be reached on Twitter as @prjunkie and on LinkedIn as Navya Penmetsa