AKHBĀR LUDHIĀṆĀ, a weekly newspaper in Persian sponsored by the British North West Frontier Agency at Ludhiāṇā in November 1834. The paper, a four-page sheet initially, but doubling its size within two years, started printing at the American Missionary Press, Ludhiāṇā, shifting to the Pashauri Mall Press, Ludhiānā, in June 1841. Three years later it ceased publication. It had a small circulation mainly determined by the requirements of the East India Company's government. The name of the editor or subscription rates were nowhere mentioned.

        The Akhbār carried news furnished by English newsprinters from various parts of the Punjab. The main focus was Lahore, the Sikh capital, and news from Lahore was for several years the front-page caption in the paper, the day-to-day happenings at the court of Raṇjīt Siṅgh, the royal decrees to civil and military officers and visits of the vakīls or representatives of independent and feudatory states constituting the staple news taking up nearly half the space. Interesting incidental information is thus provided concerning the character of the Mahārājā and his administration such as his generous treatment of his soldiers (the paper in its issue No. 99, 19 November 1836, records how, on Suchet Siṅgh Ḍogrā's report that a platoon had returned after arduous duty in Bannū, the Mahārājā immediately sanctioned two months' leave of absence for them to visit their families), the severity with which he dealt with the law-breakers and miscreants (issue No. 114, 4 March 1837, records the decree issued by the Mahārājā for taking severe action against the Afrīdī zamīndārs for their unlawful activities), the hospitality shown by his government to foreign travellers and dignitaries (No. 106, 7 January 1837), and the realization of revenue from the turbulent tribes of trans-Indus region (No. 115, 19 December 1836). There are references to the condition of the peasantry, law and order situation, mode of collection of revenue, celebration of festival occasions, and to the feudal demesnes of the Sikh nobility resumable after the death of the occupant or sometimes even before (No. 109, 3 December 1836).

        Besides news of the Lahore Darbār, the Akhbār reported an occasional item from Ludhiāṇā, though nothing about the activities of the English political agencies at Ludhiāṇā or Ambālā. In fact, it shunned all news relating to the East India Company and published only such reports as had nothing to do with the policy of the British in India. News about disputes and disturbances in Mahārājā Raṇjīt Singh territories, about court intrigues, murders of princes and sardārs and of the power of the Sikh army after the Mahārājā's death, received prominent display. At times important happenings at far-off places such as Calcutta, Leh, Hyderābād, Multān, Bahāwalpur, Balūchistān, Qandahār, Bukhārā and Khaibar, were also reported. News of local as well as of general public interest was featured sometimes; for instance, the opening of an English-medium school at Ludhiāṇā in 1834 (No. 111, 11 February 1837), and habs-i-dam (control of breath) performed by a sādhū, named Dharam Dās, by remaining alive for 40 days buried underground (No. 112, 11 February 1837).

        The style of writing, unlike that of the Persian chronicles generally, was exempt from verbosity. The language used was simple and easily intelligible. The editor apparently had a good command of Persian and he made the maximum use of the space by his economy and precision of phrase. He dispensed with the elaborate forms of honorifics usually surrounding the names of chiefs and grandees.

Bhagat Siṅgh