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Shuddhashar (শুদ্ধস্বর)

History and Mission

Shuddhashar FreeVoice (শুদ্ধস্বর) was established in 1990 at the advent of the little magazine movement in Bangladesh as an independent magazine and periodical of anti-establishment writing, working towards a broader socio-cultural movement. Shuddhashar was one of the independent little magazines in Bangladesh from the 1990s to the early 2000s. In 2004, we also started a publishing house. From then until 31 October 2015, we published more than a thousand books. We became well-known for our commitment to soliciting and supporting young writers, promoting critical thinking and progressive ideas, and publishing material otherwise deemed too controversial.

These controversial publications — which included books critical of religious and social restrictions and taboos — led to us receiving several threats of violence. Some of our authors were also threatened. Two of them, Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy, were killed in 2015 by radical Islamist militants. On 31 October 2015, one of Bangladesh’s radical Islamist militant groups stormed our office to kill our publisher. Assailants detained all the staff while calling for blood and struck down the publisher with a machete. He survived and continues our work to this day.

Today, Shuddhashar FreeVoice is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting freedom of expression, social justice, and democratic culture and values. We aim to inspire and encourage at-risk writers, artists, and journalists. The platform focuses on being an intellectual and secular voice for Nordic countries — where we are now based — and the many countries from which our exiled contributors have fled.

Our primary mission is to publish work at the intersection of politics, free speech, activism, and literature. We remain committed to inspire writers and activists, particularly those facing risks or living in exile, by offering them the opportunity to share their voices and exchange ideas and thereby contribute to social and political change. At Shuddhashar FreeVoice, we firmly believe that truth is multifaceted and that each of us bears the responsibility of engaging in dialogues as a unified international community to seek solutions to global challenges. By fostering connections between individuals, knowledge, and ideas, we strive to address cross-border societal issues collaboratively and set a constructive model for debating and implementing solutions.

We dedicate our platform to writers at risk in all parts of the world where expressing opinions and facts has become dangerous. We are committed to those who have written in pursuit of truth; who may have stumbled along the path towards knowledge; who risked their lives for equality, recognition, and justice; and who insist on the right to question and challenge the status quo. Shuddhashar FreeVoice remembers those living in exile, whether in fear or safety, hiding or waiting. Too many have lost their lives because they wrote. We hope others will be inspired to pick up their pens and write for a better world.

Our Reader Base

Our reader base is committed to social justice, free speech, LGBTQ+ rights, refugee rights, democratic equality and progress, and the environment. We furthermore encourage students and young people to engage themselves in these issues. We know that if the youth are politically engaged, there is a better chance of achieving world peace, preserving democracy, and averting the climate crisis.

We actively seek and publish talented writers and welcome pitches from aspiring contributors. Feel free to reach out to us with your unique ideas and perspectives. Our goal is to publish works that positively and constructively contribute to our mission. We do not publish content that promotes hostility or endorses stereotypes targeting any specific group of people.

Shuddhashar FreeVoice is currently supported by a grant from the Fritt Ord Foundation and Kulturrådet Norway.

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