Since there are many forms of everything (God included), there have to be ‘Forms of Journalism’ too. A book by Gyan Pathak titled `Forms of Journalism - An Internal and External History’ dwells in the earliest past to the present day to outline the evolution of journalism through the turbulence of historical developments.

The book helps readers to come to the grip with the myriad or rather mixed-up notions about journalism. In a way the book provides A to Z of journalism with known figures - be they scientists, writers , kings and queens or unknown or unsung heroes - shaping up and structuring the course of journalistic journey through the History.

Pathak describes ‘internal history’ (of journalism) as the forces behind a language, the sounds, inflections, pragmatics - responsible for giving shape to the outer structures of languages and the meaning they carry thereby and ‘external history’ as history of social, political , cultural and intellectual forces.

The author defines journalism quoting BBC dictionary as `the job of collecting , writing and publishing news in newspapers and magazines and on television and radio`. But of course, this is the skeleton within which different ‘journalists’ of ages breathed and are breathing today- carrying their own as well as the cumulative experience and meaning of times.

Journalism of today is not what it was centuries ago but the basic purpose of ‘informing public’ has remained a common thread in its all forms be they external or internal. The ‘information’ could be authentic , unauthentic, propaganda , half-truth etc - depending on the individual or the institution behind it. But the ‘ideal’ of journalism until today has continued to be as much as objective and authentic as possible in ‘collecting, writing and publishing’ news. Whether we reached anywhere close to ‘the ideal’ is an open question and a matter of debate?

Pathak has sought to sew the journalistic evolution with the spirit of different ages with role of scientists like Newton, Galileo, Corpernicus setting `new scientific information’ against the outdated concept of middle ages. Galileo said Earth moved round the Sun which was against the Church that believed the Earth was the centre of the universe. The scientific ‘information’ had to face the wrath of the religion but ultimately it had succeeded in demystifying a whole lot of concepts and thus helped loosening the vice-like grip of the religion over the society of that period.

Similarly works like `The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin also had substantial impact in changing `the mind-sets of the people for all time to come.’

The book has reference to Bengal Gazette started on January 29, 1780, as the first Indian newspaper, commonly known as Hicky Gazette after publisher James Augustus Hicky. The publisher claimed it a ‘Weekly political and commercial paper open to all parties but influenced by none’. However, Hicky was sued for libel and imprisoned. There are many instances which tell that the progression of journalism was not without its share of brutal share of suppression.

The first newspaper or the first daily news bulletin of the world, according to the author, was started by the great Roman General Julius Caesar when he came to power in 60 BC. The daily news bulletin called ‘Acta Diurna’ was first published daily from 59 BC and used to be hung in prominent places and recorded important social and political events.

One of the interesting case of reporting cited in the book is about the trial and execution of King Charles-I in 1649. The verbatim reports were published in England on public demand `who wanted exact matters to be reported without the journalistic reproduction in their own languages`. The period also witnessed Parliament reporting in the United kingdom. The birth and evolution of journalism in Europe had thereby a much longer course in the history, the direct impact of which could be observed in the comparable quality and objectivity of journalistic writings vis-à-vis Asia and other continents.

Pathak’s book should be read by those who do not know what journalism is and also by those `who know` what it is. Both would be complimenting each other.

The author is welcome to pen an another book on the contemporary Indian journalism which has always been `quite vigorous ’ in ‘balancing class interests.’ If journalism is history written in a hurry, Pathak has little time to relax. He should set 'the record of history straight' before those in 'a hurry' manage to write their kind of history.