Varta Trust promotes dialogue and understanding on gender and sexuality as issues intimate and integral to human development in India. We believe that dialogue is essential to tackling social stigma and silence around sexual issues, ensuring gender equity, and stopping discrimination around diverse forms of gender and sexuality.
We look at gender and sexuality through the prism of intersections with age, class, caste, religion, race, marital status, geographical location, sexual and reproductive health, HIV, disability, mental health, education, livelihood, social security, environment and human rights.
Varta Trust aims to publish multi-format and multi-lingual publications for mass audiences as platforms for dialogue on gender and sexuality. The Varta webzine (included in this website) is the first of these publications. Our publishing work is complemented by activities around awareness generation through public events, referrals to services, training, social research, and policy, legal, economic inclusion and media advocacy on gender and sexuality.
Our roots lie in the work done by Counsel Club (1993-2002), Pravartak (started as an independent publication by a group of individuals in 1991-92, later published by Counsel Club as their house journal from 1993-2000), and Integration Society (sibling NGO of Counsel Club, 1999 to around 2005) – all among the earliest queer support initiatives in India.
Our inspiration lies in the efforts put in by numerous queer support forums and ally human rights groups, in India and globally, over the decades to strengthen the discourse around diversity in gender and sexuality, and campaign against the stigma, discrimination and violence faced by queer communities.
Currently, a group of 26 people from the fields of journalism, social work, social and biomedical research, human rights and law, health, academics, art, information technology, engineering, business, financial management and queer community mobilization forms the larger Varta team. As a registered trust, Varta is lead by a three-member Board of Trustees consisting of Pawan Dhall (Founding Trustee), Kaushik Gupta and Madhuja Nandi.
The first meeting of Varta was held on June 3, 2012 in Kolkata, and the Varta webzine started on August 1, 2013. Varta was registered as a trust on May 14, 2014 with the ADSR Sealdah, District South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, with number IV – 00322 of 2014. We are also registered with the Income Tax Department with unique registration no. AABTV9002AE20211 under Sections 12AB and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The larger Varta team includes: Anupam Hazra, Arkadeepra Purkayastha, Bappa Panja, Debayan Sen, Debjyoti Ghosh, Diksha Sanyal, Kaushik Gupta, Madhuja Nandi, Md. Gulrez, Mith Mukherjee, Namrata Mukherjee, Owais Khan, Pawan Dhall, Pradosh Dash, Prosenjit Pal, Rudra Kishore Mandal, Santanu Pyne, Sayan Bhattacharya, Srabasti Majumdar, Sudeb Sadhu, Sudha Jha, Sudipa Chakraborty, Sukhdeep Singh, Swati Das, Vahista Dastoor and Yashita Kandhari.
Read about our work through the years as documented in our annual reports. Click here for the latest annual report (financial year 2021-22). For a copy of this or earlier annual reports, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Varta Trust acknowledges the support provided by all its well wishers (individuals and organizations), whether moral, in terms of ideas, or in the form of resources – you know who you are.
Website editor: Pawan Dhall
Varta Trust logo credit: Rudra Kishore Mandal
Artwork credit for hero images in page heads: Anupam Hazra
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