Manushi was founded in 1978 with the aim of finding effective solutions for the economic, political and social problems confronting us in India today through patient study, a non-partisan approach, live interaction with the people concerned, and culturally sensitive, informed activism. We take inspiration from the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi, and believe that we need creative application of the essentials of his philosophy to our contemporary society to meet the challenges of our times, not dead and deadening ideologies. It is essential that we contribute to the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the peaceful resolution of social conflicts.
Manushi aims to provide a platform that would provide space both for intellectual quests, investigations and debates as well as activist interventions. One of our consistent endeavours has been to bridge the divide between analysis and activism, rather than pitch them against each other. A rich and live interaction between analysis and activism is necessary for the healthy growth of both. We endeavour to go beyond offering critiques and suggestions for reform, to actually testing strategies that provide viable and worthwhile solutions to the various problems confronting us in India today. We approach issues with an open mind and give space for patient study of each problem through close interaction with the people concerned so that our interventions represent culturally sensitive, informed activism.
Manushi Trust was instituted in 1980 to provide the legal organizational base for Manushi Journal and its publishing program. In addition it undertook a whole range of activities primarily through the modest resources generated by the Journal's readers.
Manushi Sangathan was registered under the Societies Registration Act in 1994 as an offshoot of Manushi Trust to carry on the increasing range of our research, education, and advocacy work for democratic reforms that will promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights for all, especially for women.
Manushi is/was represented in the following organizations through its founder Madhu Kishwar
· Task Force, Criminal Justice, National Security and Centre-State Cooperation, Inter-State Council Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India ( 2007-2009)
· Core Group of the Expert Review Committee for reviewing research fellowships (Nehru Memorial Museum and Library), 2009 onwards
· Member of Steering Group for a series of seminars on “Public Representation of Religion called Hinduism”, set up by, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures University of Manchester, England.
· Governing Council, Common Cause (2007 onwards).
· Board of Advisors, Janaagraha, Centre for Citizenship and Democracy. Bangalore, 2005 onwards.
· Advisory Board, National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized and Informal Sector, Govt. of India (2005-2009).
· Executive Committee, Editor’s Guild of India (1991 onwards).
· Board of Trustees, Indian Social Studies Trust (1997 to date).
· Advisory Board, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society (1989 to 2003).
The engagements of Manushi can be divided into the following categories:
1) Publishing Manushi Journal, books and booklets as well as the Web edition of Manushi. ( Annexure 3a)
2) Strengthening the Rights of Self Employed Poor through Laws Liberty and Livelihoods Project. ( Annexure 3b)
3) Gender Justice Work ( Annexure 3c)
4) Manushi's Clean Rivers Campaign: In collaboration with Tarun Bharat Sangh. (Annexure 3d)
5) Manushi Sanskrtik Manch ( Annexure 3e)
6) Minority Rights/ Human Rights Work ( Annexure 3f)
7) Legal Aid and Public Interest Work ( Annexure 3g)
8) Audio Visual Media Unit ( Annexure 3h)
For more than 30 years, MANUSHI has been at the forefront of many struggles for the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups, with a special focus on women, minorities and the self-employed poor. MANUSHI was founded in 1978 with the aim of finding effective solutions for the economic, political and social problems confronting people in India today, through independent analysis, a non-partisan approach, interaction with the communities concerned, and culturally sensitive, informed activism. We take inspiration from the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi and work towards the peaceful resolution of social conflicts.
Manushi-A Journal About Women and Society has been the most visible activity of the organization, but we have been involved in a range of activities, including raising national awareness of the needs of neglected sections of our society such as cycle rickshaw pullers, street vendors, tribal women, oppressed minorities and victims of domestic violence. We have studied the causes of familial and group violence in India and pursued productive paths to help reduce such conflicts. We have participated in creating indigenous research agendas that are facilitating a more nuanced understanding of our religious and cultural heritage.
Currently, MANUSHI'S work includes but is not confined to the following:
1.Carry out investigations and research on how government policies impact the livelihoods of people working in the unorganized sectors of our economy and work towards a comprehensive agenda of economic reforms for the self-employed poor in both urban and rural areas.
2.Organize advocacy campaigns to free the livelihoods of those in the unorganized sectors of the economy (such as street vendors, cycle rickshaw pullers, traditional artisans and farmers) from needless bureaucratic controls that keep people trapped in poverty.
3.Undertake reviews of social reform legislation in India to understand why there is an increasing mismatch between the ground reality and what the law mandates - and propose better alternatives
4.Organize citizens on issues relating to governance reforms, including police and judicial reforms.
5.Organize advocacy campaigns to strengthen women's rights in public life, in the family, and the workplace and to help individual victims of injustice.
6.Undertake Public Interest Litigation on behalf of vulnerable groups such as street vendors, cycle rickshaw pullers, traditional artisans, tribal women and other victims of human rights abuses.
7.Provide legal aid and counseling to women and other vulnerable individuals.
Promote culturally sensitive studies of our civilizational heritage through the Indic Studies Project; undertake studies on neglected aspects of our cultural and religious heritage, its sources of strength as well as of oppression.
8.Organize dialogues on contentious issues between various communities (for example, on topics such as the reform of personal laws, honour killings, and consensually acceptable ground rules for religious conversions) that require urgent solutions.
9.Undertake prompt, in-depth and non-partisan investigations whenever there is a violent outburst of hostility between communities to understand in detail the factors that produce such destructive reactions and try to build bridges of communication between estranged communities so that they can appreciate each others' legitimate grievances and restore peaceful co-living.
10.Environmental activism as part of the Clean Rivers campaign. We have also run a successful campaign to recognize eco-friendly vehicles such as cycle rickshaws and handcarts as an integral part of urban transport.
11.Publish Manushi-A Journal about Women and Society. The print version had to be suspended under very stressful circumstances due to violent attacks by political mafias, who opposed our work to achieve economic justice for street vendors. We are currently publishing a web edition of Manushi Journal and manage a dedicated website for the activities of MANUSHI SANGATHAN. Please see: www.manushi.in.
12.Produce audiovisual resources - documentary films and music - to assist in our campaigns and advocacy work.
13.Produce books and booklets on issues of importance arising from our work.