Welcome to the new Varta website!

The photograph is of a full moon shining brightly, seen through the branches of a nearly bare tree in the night sky. It occupies the centre of the frame with the broad and thinner branches of the tree forming a mesh across the sky. But none cross the image of the moon, which lies intact within an irregular pentagon formed by the branches. The thinner branches growing off the main ones have scanty leaves on them. Even though the sides of the picture have a black tinge, the light of the moon illuminates the centre of the photograph creating a serene environment. Photo credit: Vahista Dastoor

Vartanama, Aug '16
Hasn’t the subject of gender and sexuality been done to death? Isn’t it all over the media in ever more tantalizing formats?

If we publish on gender and sexuality, will we succeed in attracting and retaining readers? Three years ago, even as the very first Vartanama article (About Intimate Dreams!) was being penned, these were some of the doubts flitting about in the Varta team’s mind. The team, and Varta as an organization, itself was in a nebulous stage.

We didn’t want to inhabit a myth, or make claims that ours was the only initiative of its kind. But what we were sure about was the need for dialogue on gender and sexuality in a way that would not seem ‘more of the same’. We wanted an eclectic and inclusive conversation that acknowledged the amazing arc of gender and sexuality – from intimate dreams, individual aspirations, social health and developmental imperatives, on to the larger goal of social equity.

We aimed to look at gender and sexuality through the prism of intersections with our day-to-day worries and challenges – be it around class, caste or religion; sexual and reproductive health, HIV, disability or mental health; education or even livelihood and social security. But we didn’t want the dialogue to be confined to people usually seen to be talking about these issues – human rights activists and academics; neither did we want to pander to stereotypes and commercial considerations often visible in the mass media all around us.

Well, did we succeed? After 232 posts, more than 58,000 pageviews from across India and the world, and 249 comments on our earlier site (blog) at varta2013.blogspot.in, we would say that we’re surely on our way, and isn’t that the sweetest part of a journey!

Numbers apart, what makes us the happiest is that we try to put in considerable thought into each of the posts in Varta so as to relate them closely to our goals and objectives. The same thought process is also behind columns like Insight, Happenings, From the Archives, Qatha, Clickhappy! and several others. All these and more will continue on the Varta webzine on a monthly basis.

But now there’s more to Varta, the organization, than just Varta, the webzine! Gradually, we have expanded also our non-publishing activities around awareness generation, research, advocacy and training. Check out the links in the dropdown menu on this site.

As we embark on a new phase, we’re conscious about the limitations of Varta’s reach to the wider audiences we seek – English language, need for Internet access, and inadequate accessibility to people with disabilities being the primary ones. While our non-publishing activities help us scale some of these hurdles, it will be our effort also to make the content, format and accessibility of the webzine and other publications more democratic. With your feedback and contributions, there’s no reason why we won’t succeed!

About the photograph: Keeping alive the dream! From the Varta files - this photograph was published in the first Vartanama article in August 2013. Photo credit: Vahista Dastoor

Author Photo

Pawan Dhall

Pawan Dhall aspires to be a rainbow journalist and believes in taking a stand, even if it’s on the fence – the view is better from there!

Author Photo

Vahista Dastoor

Vahista Dastoor wields the camera to get her point across when she is not documenting child rights, mental health or gender related issues.

Comments So Far

  • Image KINGSHUK CHAKRABORTY   kingpop000@gmail.com 22-08-2016 | Reply

    Hurray!!

    • Image Pawan Dhall 22-08-2016

      Thank you Kingshuk! You and your team made this a reality for the Varta team!

  • Image Souvik E   Ekamebadwitiyam@gmail.com 25-08-2016 | Reply

    Congratulations and best wishes to Pawan and the Varta team.

    • Image Varta Trust 25-08-2016

      Thanks Souvik, keep the feedback flowing!

  • Image Vahista   vahista@gmail.com 25-08-2016 | Reply

    Looking good!!

    • Image Pawan Dhall 25-08-2016

      Thanks Vahista!

  • Image Devi ashima   deviashima@yahoo.com 26-08-2016 | Reply

    Refreshing and very well stated !!!! Kudos.

    • Image Varta Trust 26-08-2016

      Thank you for your appreciation!

  • Image Pallav Bonerjee   pbonerjee@gmail.com 27-08-2016 | Reply

    Congratulations to the Varta team for your exuberance, tenacity and creativity. Glad to be a part of it. Cheers to many more milestones in the future!

    • Image Varta Trust 28-08-2016

      Thanks Pallav for your support and invaluable contributions!

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