The journal put together by women takes up issues concerning them
There are now several social media platforms and special magazines for women. But Namma Manasa, a monthly journal, being published in Kannada for 26 years, is like no other. It is put together by women and takes up issues concerning them.
At a time when the women’s movement was gaining momentum in the 1980s, Rajeshwari H.S., the present editor of the journal, along with a group of friends, started the periodical aimed at being “independent, autonomous and without government control.”
“One of the main challenges at that time was funding. But over the years, readership has picked up. There is a need for serious analysis of the problems of women and that is what we do,” said Ms. Rajeshwari, who holds a full-time job elsewhere. In fact, all six women in the present editorial team (apart from the editor) are students working voluntarily for the journal without any honorarium.
Going through the back issues of Namma Manasa is like refreshing one’s memory of various milestones in the feminist movement.
The modest-looking journal, with a circulation of about 700 copies, is printed out of a press in Chamarajpet and it survives on the subscription fee. While the cover price is Rs. 10, annual subscription costs Rs. 100.
From editing articles to designing the layout and collecting the copies from the press and dispatching them (the copies are posted to subscribers) is done by women. The journal has a loyal following mostly in the State and also in Maharashtra, and New Delhi and other north Indian States.
The journal will witness changes in the days to come. To begin with, it will be brought out only once in three months. Janavi A., a member on the editorial board, said this change also meant that activities of the group would not be confined to publishing the journal alone. “We will have time to organise workshops and other activities.”
It is not just the journal that is undergoing a transformation. Team members like Ms. Janavi, who are in the final year of college now, will soon embark on their professional careers. But they promise to help whenever possible.
“As students, we were not fully aware of the women’s movement. We don’t know how much we contributed, but our personalities have certainly improved while working on the journal. The experience has helped us grow,” Ms. Janavi said.