Slum Jagattu, a Kannada magazine run entirely by a group of slum dwellers, has been giving a platform to marginalised to talk about their issues for last 18 years. Priced at a meagre Rs 10, the monthly magazine is a volunteer effort aimed at highlighting the issues of people living in the slums of Bengaluru.
Started in 2000, the magazine is entering its 18th year of production and is looking to expand its reach.
Speaking with InUth.com, the magazine’s editor Issac Arul Selva said, “The mainstream newspapers do not cover slum issues. They say their (issues) are not of major interest for our magazine or newspaper. Through this magazine we want to achieve two things: one is to write our own stories and second is communicating within us.”
Interestingly, the entire process from writing to editing to designing is done by a close knit group of six people who are slum dwellers and none of them are full-time employees.
It hasn’t been an easy journey for the magazine though. In 2014, it had to shut down its operations due to financial constraints.
After a three-year gap, Selva restarted the magazine in 2017, but its circulation dwindled by 75% (500 copies). In one year, the black-and-white magazine’s has again gained popularity however, with its circulation rising to 800 copies which is read across more than a dozen districts of Karnataka.
However, for Selva creating manpower has been a bigger challenge. “If you develop a human resource, a person within the slum, they immediately move on. One is creating human resource, second is retaining human resource (which) is a big problem,” he said. Despite the challenges, the magazine continues to talk about life in slums; a story which has no end.