15 May, 2021

...The Word Reached The Fields

A magazine that has enabled rural masses to keep in touch with the world turns eleven

...The Word Reached The Fields
Pitara: a basket of goodies? A treasure chest? However you translate it, the image of an ordinary-looking container for extraordinary things is a perfect title for a pioneering Hindi magazine that celebrates its 75th issue this month. For literate adults, there’s nothing more ordinary than the act of reading: we do it unconsciously almost all the time.Yet, if you stop to think, the act of reading is a truly extraordinary act. Try to imagine your normal day without this ability. The place where you live becomes a foreign country: it’s as though you have lost a limb, or your eyesight.

Eleven years ago, when the Total Literacy campaigns were at their peak, a group of five women—Renuka Mishra, Jaya Sharma, Farah Naqvi, Malini Ghose and Dipta Bhog—decided the only way to keep new readers reading was to give them material they actually, actively, wanted to read. Out of this simple idea, Pitara was born.

The women founded a Delhi-based collective, working on issues related to gender and education called Nirantar and, with Pitara, their aim was two-fold....

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