More than a Journal – A Cause
The first issue of the journal Manushi came out of the press past midnight on December 8, 1978. However, it was officially released in January 1979. It is published by Manushi Trust as a non-profit, non-commercial Journal to give it an independent and stable economic base. For the first ten years, we published two editions – Hindi and English – every alternate month. The English edition has been published without a break since 1978, though the Hindi edition had to close down due to paucity of resources.
Manushi was founded 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 ideas to meet the challenges of our times, not dead and deadening ideologies which play a divisive role in society rather than create a conducive atmosphere for the peaceful resolution of social conflicts. We believe that truth, non-violence and compassion are the most reliable criteria to judge the worth of any idea or action. Another litmus test we consider important for evaluating our ideas and interventions is whether or not they actually expand the horizons of freedom for our people and give due respect to their notions of a good life. We mistrust and avoid authoritarian measures for social and economic reforms and instead prefer to work towards a consensual approach to solve problems.
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 endeavors has been to bridge the divide between analysis and activism, rather than pitch them against each other. Intellectual analysis becomes sterile if it does not have a vibrant connection with people’s lives and concerns. Likewise, informed activism is possible only when one is constantly learning from one’s own experiences and mistakes as well as keeping oneself open to new ideas and approaches based on diverse experiences of others which are more easily accessible through other people’s research and writings because there are limits to what one can learn first hand. A rich and live interaction between analysis and activism is necessary for the healthy growth of both.
Apart from publishing the bimonthly magazine called Manushi as well as educational booklets, books and films on important issues, Manushi Trust undertakes and promotes:
Research and investigation on important social, economic and political issues that help us better understand the life-situations of the people of our country, especially of women and vulnerable communities.
Provide a non-partisan forum for debate on important social and political issues as well as for exploring the changes required in the political and economic institutions of our society that would bridge the rural-urban divide and alleviate the exploitation of women, minorities, the poor and other disadvantaged groups.
Promote greater understanding of and respect for our diverse cultures and religious traditions.
Undertake inquiries that will counter the distortion of our past heritage, so as to improve our understanding of our contemporary situation, and make it possible for our familial, cultural and social institutions to respond creatively to the changing requirements of our people.
So far most of our work on the Journal has been based on voluntary labour. The resources generated from the sale of our publications and individual donations have so far been the main financial support for the activities we have undertaken. However, we are now in the process of reviewing our policy with regard to fund raising in order to enhance Manushi’s content, range of activities, outreach as well as effectiveness.