Rashtradoot was started by Pt. Hazari Lal Sharma, who was active in the freedom movement in Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. While he was studying in Scottish Church College, Calcutta, he had organized a function to honour Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who was alumni of Scottish Church and had been elected President of Indian National Congress. When the British Management of Scottish Church did not allow the function to be held in college premises, he had led the first student strike in the history of Scottish Church. Ultimately, College management bowed down and Netaji was felicitated in his Alma Mater.
Pt. Hazari Lal Sharma had later studied in Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which was the centre for nationalist leaders from all over India and also from the princely state of Rajasthan, He was roommate student of Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya. He was elected President of BHU Student's Union. Later he had established a printing press ' Janvani Printers' in Calcutta, which became a centre of nationalist leaders and literary personalities. All the earlier works of Acharya Kishori Das Vajpai (who wrote the grammar of Hindi, Rashtra Kavi Ram Dhari, Singh Dinkar, revolutionary poet Ram Vraksh Benipuri and several others were printed and published by him. He was also publisher of weekly publications of several Congress and Leftist leaders.
After independence, Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, while returning from a tour of Assam, and speaking to a group of young persons said, "This ugly man with an ugly mind (referring to an owner of big newspaper) preaches us about policy, principles and democracy. Aren't there young, intelligent, educated persons in India, who can take out newspapers." These words touched a cord in the heart of Pt. Hazari Lal Sharma and he decided to start a daily newspaper.
After lots of discussions and advises, the location of newspaper was zeroing in on Banglore with Englishas language. Then, Shri. Jai Narayan Vyas, the tallest figure in Rajasthan's struggle for freedom, who had taken special liking for him during his BHU days, told him, "I know you and your Family very well. You will never earn fortunes in this as for you newspaper is always going to be mission." He said, "Publishing a newspaper is like doing 'Aatishbaaji'. You never do 'Aatishbaaji' only in front of your home, so that you, your family and your friends can enjoy it and gives respect to your family. So instead of going to Banglore, you should start publication from Rajsthan, which is your home state."
For Hazari Babu, as he was affectionately and respectfully called, Jai Narayan Ji was not only a father figure, he was the 'source of inspiration' for him. Vyas Ji's advise touched his heart and he decided to start the newspaper of Rajasthan, which was just being made by amalgamation of scores of small and big princely states. It was also felt that now that India has become independent, the days of English are numbered and that Hindi being the language of masses, the publication should come out in Hindi only. The name decided ' Rashtradoot' had a feeling of nationalism in it.
Rajasthan was just being created by bringing together small and big princely states, which had been sovereign in themselves, having their own law, army, police and even dialect. Bringing these divergent entities together was a herculean task in front of our constitution makers. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary – the three pillars of democracy were formed and established by constitutional decisions. For smooth functioning of democracy, need for the fourth pillar, Press, the conscious keeper of state and public, was felt and Rashtradoot took upon itself this role.
In fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that the history of Rashtradoot is also the history of democratic process in Rajasthan. Rashtadoot was actively involved in establishing healthy practices and conventions not only in reporting and journalism, and also in different fields of life.
In those days, the gates of the walled city use to be closed by 9:00 in the night and would open only early in the morning. The station was at quite some distance from the walled city and in between was only forest land. If anybody was reaching Jaipur station even at 8:00 pm, then people had to spend the night at the station as by the time they could reach the City, gates would be closed. The Delhi – Ahmedabad Mail, which comes at around 4:30 am these days, used to come at 11:00 in the morning. The newspapers from Delhi used to come in this train. The daily newspaper of Jaipur used to be printed like any daily anywhere in the world, in the night, but it used to wait for Delhi papers to come and used to be distributed with them in the afternoon.
Hazari Babu, with his Calcutta background, insisted that the newspapers will be distributed in the morning only and would be there at the door step of its readers before they get up. It took a lot of persuasion, hard work and expenses to inculcate the habit of early morning delivery of newspapers in Jaipur. It can be said that Rashtradoot developed the taste of morning newspaper reading in Jaipur.
When Rajasthan was formed, there was very little railway lines in the state, as the rulers of the princely states had not allowed trains to come to their capital as they thought that it would disturb the sleep and the peaceful environment of their city. The road network was scanty and the public transport system was not developed. There were only few schools. There was tradition of honoring a student who had done B.A or M.A by taking out a procession in the city with the successful student sitting on elephant.
In that scenario, Rashtradoot started publication from Jaipur. The machines were from 'Janvani Printers, Calcutta', the compositors and machine men from Bengal and Bihar. Freedom fighters with literary background joined the team to give first proper, full-fledged, six page daily to Jaipur.
Shri. Jagjiwan Ram, Senior Cabinet Minister, Govt. of India, came to launch Rashtradoot on 1st August, 1951. Shri. Jai Narayan Vyas, then Chief Minister of Rajasthan presided over the function. The first Chief Editor of Rashtradoot was Shri. Sumresh Joshi, a freedom fighter and literary figure from Jodhpur.