Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > impact on women / resistance > Shudddhashar, from Bangladesh to international, the story of a progressive (...)

Shudddhashar, from Bangladesh to international, the story of a progressive and controversial publishing house

Friday 21 January 2022, by siawi3

Source: email, Jan 21, 2022

Five Years’ Journey in Norway

Dear friend,

We are delighted to share an update about Shudddhashar’s Five Years’ Journey in Norway! After successfully completing five years online from a place of exile, we are taking this moment to reflect on our journey and accomplishments. True, the journey has come with obstacles and difficulties, but we have learned a tremendous amount, thanks to supporters and lots of trial and error. This journey has also evolved into an exciting adventure, and we’re delighted to have you be part of this, our online chapter.

About Shuddhashar: Shuddhashar is a platform to defend, promote, and inspire freedom of expression, free press, social and climate justice, equality, and human rights. Shuddhashar´s slogan, TO INSPIRE, NOT TO IMPRESS, motivates us to encourage writers and readers to expand perspectives and use the pen for a more equitable and just world.


Origins: In December 1990, Shuddhashar started its journey as a little print magazine in Sylhet, Bangladesh. It critiqued religious politics and taboos, and it celebrated artistic experimentation and critical philosophy.

Little magazine: From 1990 to 2015, several issues were published in print version. These issues included poems (experimental and traditional), experimental short stories, critical prose, articles, reviews, interviews, and more.

Publication house: In 2004 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the publication section began as a sister wing of Shuddhashar’s little magazine. Shuddhashar started book publication as an amateur publisher after seeing that established publishers were not interested in publishing young writers’ books, especially controversial ones. Seeing readers’ interest grow, Shuddhashar became a professional book publication house. From 2004 until 31 October 2015, Shuddhashar published more than one thousand books and other items, including prose, research-based work, novels, stories, poems, and translations (such as translations of Russian classics and other world literature). Shuddhashar was renowned in Bangladesh as a controversial and young writers’ book publisher.

Tragedies of 2015: As a progressive and controversial book publishing house, Shuddhashar was always under threat due to the rising religious extremism in Bangladesh. On 26 February 2015, one of Shuddhashar´s writers, Avijit Roy, was hacked to death by an Islamist extremist group after he was returning from a Shuddhashar book launch program at the Ekushey Book Fair, the celebrated month-long and largest book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In the same year, on 12 May, another of Shuddhashar´s writers, Ananta Bijoy, was hacked by an Islamist extremist group in front of his house. On 31 October 2015, an Islamic extremist group attacked the Shuddhashar office with the intention of killing its publisher. The publisher and two writers were severely injured but luckily survived.

Closed Bangladesh chapter: After the attack in Shuddhashar office, the injury of the publisher, and the overall security problems in Bangladesh, all Shuddhashar’s work in Bangladesh had to be shuttered. As a business firm, Shuddhashar lost everything in Bangladesh: office establishment, staff, community, books, stocks, finances — everything. The publisher went into exile from the hospital.

Journey in Norway: International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) arranged for Shuddhashar’s publisher and his family to receive sanctuary in Norway. In January 2017, from exile, Shuddhashar was reborn as an online platform. After trauma, displacement, a refugee status, and starting with nothing but determination, Shuddhashar started its journey again. The first issues were published with a few articles. Gradually Shuddhashar’s network expanded, and the platform grew and evolved as new members joined the team.

Registered as a nonprofit organization: In 2017, Shuddhashar became a registered nonprofit organization in Norway. In Bangladesh, Shuddhashar had been a private firm. Now Shuddhashar is operated by an Advisory Board, a Management Board, and an Editorial Team.


Shuddhashar´s work from 2017 to 2021

Shuddhashar is a pen-warrior platform. Shuddhashar´s moto is to inspire and awaken people´s conscience and logical thinking about freedom of expression, free thought, democratic values, humanism, LGBTIQ+ matters, feminism, climate crisis, authoritarian rule, and all kinds of societal ills that limit human potential and cause division and hatred among people.

In this new journey, Shuddhashar has experimented with different approaches and sections, working to find our most effective and meaningful voice. Our quarterly theme-based magazine issues, focused on critical contemporary topics, are our primary focus. These tie together many of our goals, concerns, and aspiration. We have designed several sections, including the following, many of which were started recently:

Review (Book & Film)


Total publication: From January 2017 to December 2021, our total publications include 713 items.

Total magazine issues (theme-based issues and regular issues): 26
Total number of articles in magazine issues: 383

Total number of essays in Essay section: 135, in English (83), Norsk (7), and Bangla (40)

Total longform: 36, in English 11, Bangla 23

Total review: 16. Book: 9, Film: 7

Total blog: 48, 15 in English, 33 in Bangla
Total statement: 13
Total podcast: 18
Total translation: 25
Total interview: 8

Contributors from 32 Countries.

Readers in 56 Countries.

Student Interns: 3. Shuddhashar has had three student interns through two programs. The Human Rights Foundation nominated interns to work with Shuddhashar during the summer through their Oslo Scholars Program (OSP). Additionally, we have a six-month internship program. These programs have given students the opportunity to learn more about human rights issues as well as different aspects of publication. Our student interns research for magazine issues, conduct interviews, and write, and they contribute to outreach and publicity enhancement, especially through social media.

PLAN 2022

Mentorship: Our new Avijit-Ananta Mentorship Programme for aspiring writer-thinkers in the global south has begun in January 2022 and will focus on developing effective research, writing, and critical thinking skills. This Mentorship Programme is named after Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das, two intellectuals and avid writers who were inspiring mentors to numerous young Bangladeshis. In their memory, Shuddhashar has created this outreach effort to encourage others. From among many qualified applications, we are pleased to say we accepted five bright and promising students in India and Bangladesh for our inaugural program.

Book: After five years of our online journey, we are returning to book publication. We are working with authors, convening editors, and text editors to develop manuscripts that will be appealing and marketable at the international level. We plan to publish these books soon as e-books, and then we will take the initiative for publishing as print. We are also exploring a variety of interesting topics for future books.

We continue to grow and experiment, and we have several important critical issues being planned for our magazine in 2022. We invite you to read Shuddhashar regularly.

After successfully completing 5 years online from exile, Shuddhashar’s publisher reflects on the difficult, but often exciting, journey of the past 31 years.

For social media, you’ll find us here
Facebook: (
Twitter: (
Instagram: ( TikTok:

Support Shuddhashar
We hope you will inspire people to support Shuddhashar or consider a donation so that we can continue to provide excellent and thought-provoking articles about topics that are critical today.


We are deeply grateful to the support we have received from Fitt Ord Foundation and Kulturrådet in Norway. Because of these organizations, we have been able to give honorariums to our writers and pay for infrastructure. We thank them for honoring us with their confidence in our work, efforts, and aspirations.

We give our thanks to our Advisory Team, which has inspired us, encouraged us, and given us valuable advice and contacts.

Without our Editorial Team, we’d be nowhere. Thank you for your faith in Shuddhashar’s project and your constant and inspiring support. You have the most insightful, provocative, and interesting ideas, and we’re grateful for everything you’re doing. We’re incredibly pleased to know you are comrades on this journey.

And of course, thanks to our readers in 56 countries and our many well-wishers and supporters.

Stay tuned. We have more ideas, more plans, and we can’t wait to share them with you!!

Yours in solidarity,

Team Shuddhashar