Speaking for the Diaspora: Tamil Newspapers in Malaya and Singapore as Instruments of Modernity, Protection, Reform and Change, 1930-1940

Dinesh Sathisan


With very few works of scholarship focusing on Tamil communities in Malaya, and with the bulk of them reflecting a bias towards histories of migrant plantation workers, this study departs from such a focus to explore an intellectual movement spearheaded by the Tamil press. This article explores three Tamil papers published in colonial Malaya and Singapore during the 1930s; the Tamil Nesan, Munnetram and Tamil Murasu. These newspapers aspired to be instruments that spoke for the diaspora, in an effort to protect their status and rights, and at the same time, spoke to the diaspora on issues of individual and social modernisation and reform.

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