History and Mission
Shuddhashar (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 one thousand books. We became well-known for our commitment to finding and supporting young writers, promoting freethinking, and for our integrity in publishing material that was 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 and two of them, Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy, were killed in 2015. On 31 October, 2015, our office was brutally attacked by one of the radical Islamist militant groups in Bangladesh. Assailants broke into the office with the intent of killing our publisher and detained all staff while calling for blood. They struck the publisher down with a machete. He survived and continues our work to this day.
Today, Shuddhashar is a non-profit organization committed to promoting freedom of expression, human rights, democratic culture and values, and multiculturalism. We aim to inspire and promote at-risk writers, artists, and journalists. The platform focuses on being a multicultural, intellectual, and secular voice for Nordic countries – where we are now based – and for the many countries from which our exiled writers have fled.
Our primary mission is to publish work at the intersection of politics, free speech, activism, and literature. We remain a platform committed to inspire writers and activists, especially those at risk or in exile, by providing an opportunity to share their work, as well as contribute to social and political change through the exchange of ideas. Shuddhashar upholds the belief that truth is not absolute; we have a responsibility to have dialogue in order to seek solutions for man-made problems as a global community by sharing ideas and values. We aim to connect people, knowledge, and ideas in order to collectively address societal ills and to provide a model for constructively debating solutions.
We dedicate our Shuddhashar magazine to writers at risk in all parts of the world where expressing opinions and facts has become dangerous. We are dedicated to those who have written in pursuit of truth; who may have stumbled along the path towards knowledge; who risked their lives for greater understanding and for justice; and who insist on the right to question, express, and challenge. Shuddhashar remembers those who now live in exile, whether in fear or safety, in hiding or in 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 primary target is writers and readers who are concerned about human rights, free speech, LGBTQ+ rights, integration of immigrants and refugees, democracy, and anti-radicalisation movements. We also encourage students and young people to become involved in such matters. We know that if the youth are more politically engaged, then there is a much better chance of achieving world peace, equality, and climate control.
We actively solicit and publish writers, and accept unsolicited submissions. Reach out to us with your ideas. We are interested in articles that contribute constructively to our mission. We do not publish work that reflects hostility or endorses stereotypes of any groups of people.
Shuddhashar is currently supported by a grant from the Fritt Ord Foundation and Kulturrådet Norway.