In a world that is faced with vanishing cultural values and constant bickering, it is rare to find any human being devoting time to actually bonding an entire community together…
This is the story of how a five lakh strong Keralite community is bonded through the dissemination of literature.
Pune365 believes in the power of digital, but will never fail to acknowledge great effort in print and more so when it is built on an ecosystem of warmth and affection. We are today, in conversation with Harinarayanan of Pravasi Sabdam.
Harinarayanan Kandanath and his team conceptualised Pravasi Sabdam (The Voice Of The Expatriate), a community magazine in Malayalam with 12000 subscribers.
With a motive to keep the Keralite that is over five lakh strong in Pune, Harinarayanan launched Pravasi Sabdam, that reflects the stories of the unsung heroes, covers news, opinions and provides a platform to expand one’s business across the community.
In this digital era where everything can be accessed in just a click of a button, this community magazine has flourished and survived for 15 long years and is all set to celebrate their 16th year next month.
Launched as a tabloid, the monthly is now published with 52 pages and on special occasional like Diwali, Vishu and Onam, they have special editions with 112 pages.
Although the magazine is only printed in Malayalam, they also translate the work of writers in different languages, inspirational stories, news, political views, culture, poems and articles contributed by anyone irrespective of language and the community they belong to.
The magazine is available only in print and over 12000 copies are subscribed by people from across the country, the majority from Maharashtra. Readers opine that Pravasi Sabdam is one the best malayalam magazines operating outside of Kerala
A political activist during his college days, Harinarayanan Kandanath even landed in jail for being an active voice in various student movements. He came to Pune in 1980 looking for a job after completing graduation from his home town, Thrissur in Kerala.
“When I reached Pune, I was feeling very lost and detached. In those days, the media was not accessible, and I couldn’t access Malayalam magazines, weeklies or even Malayalam books. Then we started getting a daily newspaper like Mathrubhumi after three days of its publication. Although I wasn’t an expert in English, I always had the urge to read and getting access to the kind of information we have today was a challenge then.
“My inclination towards journalism also led me to write for a native magazine. Even in my college days, I used to produce a hand written magazine and eventually started with a print magazine too, but that did not survive thanks to financial challenges,” adds Harinarayanan.
The tabloid was then setup with the idea to inform the community about the developments and latest updates.
It also works to inculcate the reading habits in the younger generation, create a cultural backdrop. It also in my opinion, helps instil the ethos and morals of our culture among the younger people besides giving them a chance to connect with the huge wealth of malayalam literature.
Reminiscing the early days, he says, “In 1998 after the Konkan Railway was flagged off, the Malayali people in Pune felt left out. The train services to Kerala was reduced from 36 to only 7, in which Malabar region of Kerala was ignored. So, there was a need to unite people to get more train services, but we lacked any kind of media support. Moreover, we didn’t have any medium to communicate with the people from our community hence we created a medium called ‘Pravasi Sabdam’.
Speaking of the challenges they faced, he says, “Running a magazine is no longer easy. Each month we struggle to get funding and advertisements to bring out the magazine and keep it going. Though, in our special editions we do get a decent amount of advertising to cover our costs, else it goes from our pockets!
Pravasi Sabdam also conducts literary conclaves annually in Pune and honours prominent Malayalam writers and artists like MT Vasudevan Nair, Film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, noted fiction writer K.R. Meera, novelist Subash Chandran to name a few.
Kamala Das aka Madhavikutty, renounced Indian poet was also conferred the award. They have also set up a library in her loving memory which holds all her books in Malayalam language.
Pravasi Sabdam’s team has author, MG Radhakrishnan as the editor and Suresh Kumar. Harinarayanan added that they are happy encouraging budding writers and welcome anyone who wishes to contribute to the magazine..
#Pune365 takes this opportunity to wish Pravasi Sabdam and team all success in the years ahead.
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