Published from New Delhi, FORWARD Press is the first bi-lingual (Hindi-English) monthly, which is being brought out from April 2009. The magazine, centred on the Phule-Ambedkarism is popular among the Bahujans. It has a readership of around 80,000 at present. It is mainly read in north India. The magazine also has a deep association with the Dravidian movements of South India and with intellectuals, writers and movements linked with the movement for social justice. One important contribution of the magazine was providing a common platform to pro-social justice intellectuals of different Indian languages, which has spurred the process of exchange of ideas. Besides analytical articles on current issues, research papers are also published in the magazine and it is known for its effective intervention in current discourses in the academic world. The magazine's contribution to development of the 'thought process of OBC discourse' and 'concept of Bahujan literature' is also considered important. Many special numbers of the magazine were devoted to identifying the 'Bahujan traditions' in the field of culture, in which many articles on Mahishasur were also published. Ivan Kostka is the chief editor of the magazine and Pramod Ranjan is its editor.
Both the houses of Parliament witnessed debate on Mahishasur over the last three days. The debate was marked by a walkout by the opposition and adjournment of the Rajya Sabha. The name ofFORWARD Press was mentioned by many media organisations in this connection and some channels/ newspapers reported that the objectionable pamphlet about Hindu goddess Durga, which was read out by the HRD Minister in the House, was taken fromFORWARD Press. Some other things have also been said in the media, which are not true or are misleading. The facts in this regard are as under:
1. The pamphlet / poster that was read out by the HRD Minister Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and which was allegedly pasted on JNU campus in 2014 is not the part of any article published in the FORWARD Press. In fact, the belief that Mahishasur Day is being celebrated only in JNU is erroneous. Some organizers from West Bengal have claimed that they have been celebrating Mahishasur Day much before its celebrations began in JNU. It is clear that FORWARDPress has no direct role in the holding of such functions at JNU or elsewhere. Of course, we are happy that our readers-writers have given momentum to a cultural discourse that was forgotten by the mainstream. The magazine's endeavour is to ensure that different traditions and cultures of India respect each other and learn from each other. (See where Mahishasur Day is celebrated https://www.forwardpress.in/2015/12/four-years-of-a-cultural-movement-hindi/ )
2. On the complaint of Brahmanical organizations, the Delhi Police had seized copies of the 'Bahujan-Shraman special number – October 2014' of the magazine and registered a case against the editors, which is sub judice. The complainant had alleged that the publication of articles regarding Mahishasur in FORWARD Press was increasing animosity between 'OBCs and Brahmins'. We are confident that this allegation will be proved wrong in the court.
3. The publication of the print edition of the FORWARDPress is being ceased from June 2016 due to unavoidable reasons. A notice to this effect has been published in the March issue of the magazine. The notice is attached for your perusal. Here, it would be pertinent to mention that though we are ceasing the publication of the print edition of the magazine but we are going to strengthen our presence on the Web. Besides, we also plan to publish 24 books annually on different social issues. These steps are being taken so that we can more effectively intervene in Bahujan discourse
4. The cover story of the magazine's current issue is on JNU being targetted due to Bahujan discourse. The story, written by Pramod Ranjan, editor of the magazine, discusses the entire issue in detail and shows how the charges levelled in the issue dated 8 November 2015 of Panchjanya, the organ of RSS got converted into the intelligence report of the Delhi police in February 2016 and that report was made the basis for hatching a conspiracy to defame this prestigious institution of higher learning.
Editor, FORWARD Press
Note: The Hindi and English versions of the cover story are attached.
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