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Where does news lie? Is it in the clamouring newsrooms? Or is it where the cries of the toiling farmers drown? Times like these where real issues are only found in the receding pages of the newspaper, where an infodemic breeds faster than the nails on our fingers, Swarajya echoes the long lost ideals of journalism. Away from the noise, and farther away from institutional bias, Swarajya covers it all with a rare composed silence.
Swarajya is like that quiet friend of the group who always gives the best relationship advice. From short, crisp news snippets of the day to the close tracking of the powers that be and from the heritage that may be lost to the small leaps of humankind into new realms of technology, its silent expertise remains unmatched. Far away from the noise and confusion, coming with a rich legacy of independence, Swarajya is so much more than a trusted voice for the downtrodden!
Harbouring the Legacy
Do you remember C Rajagopalachari? Delving deeper into the life of the great Mahatma Gandhi, one can discern Rajagopalachari’s role as the former’s ‘conscience keeper’. Rajagopalachari was an ardent freedom fighter, the last Governor-General of India, and was lovingly called Rajaji, the beloved king. His conscience and political acumen encouraged the youth to preserve the values of the newly born nation, which was then undergoing the birth pangs of being an independent democracy.
In 1956, under the stringent guidance of Rajaji, Khasa Subba Rau launched Swarajya. Originally started as a weekly magazine, Swarajya celebrated the essence of independence and iterated the tales of struggle that were but sewn with the flesh and blood of its founders.
It would be unfair to talk about Swarajya without understanding its origins. It was the fervent intellectual powerhouse of the newspaper which was the first of its kind to articulate a legitimate response to the Nehruvian social order, and since then, the weekly has been working as the ‘conscience keeper’ of the nation, much like its patron. It was the first entity in contemporary India to champion the cause of the individual and the protection of his rights within a climate replete with socialism.
Swarajya Still Shines Today
The new India is rising! Through the nooks of the metropolitans, through the shackles of the old world, with the ideas brewing over coffee, and the legacy of the individual, liberty is at its peak. As India becomes a superpower, the revamped Swarajya seeks to strike the heated iron of the youth of our country, which let’s face it, is colossal, to say the least. Today’s youth is radically different from their preceding generations, defining and letting itself be defined by a highly innovative, creative and technically sophisticated society.
While the youth flies high, Swarajya is the perfect anchor that does not bind, preach or force, but communicates, informs, and criticises. And it does so with brevity, clarity, and succinctness. We found the relevance of the magazine in New India as a force that beckons the youth on the path of being global citizens while also reminding them of their cultural roots and diversity. From daily news snippets of the day to the extensive contemplative pieces, Swarajya covers all issues with equal care, compassion, and objectivity. The prime areas of focus of the magazine are the political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of this country. But how is it different?
Inside the Editorial Powerhouse
If you look at the online daily of Swarajya, the first thing you will notice is the versatility of the magazine. Let’s take a look at its editorial board, the power house from which such vibrant conversations emanate.
The editorial board has a perfect mix of business-minded people with a strong sense of individuality and authoritative voices that speak vehemently of the past. Surjit Bhalla, an economist from Princeton, Swapan Dasgupta, the renowned Oxford University historian, and Manish Sabharwal, a board member of the Reserve Bank of India form the trio who safeguard the ideals of journalism and maintain the fierce independence of the magazine.
Its two counterparts, the online daily and the monthly print magazine, cover all forms and types of news. The opinion leaders understand the pulse of the energised, youthful, and diversified nation thereby making space for all kinds of readers, from the tacit ones to the aware and reflective readers. We were amazed to find Swarajya’s diversity of news coverage and writing styles, which cover the massive geographical expanse of the subcontinent and find complex socio-political issues that resonate with the entire readership. But in the pursuit of such wonderful subjects, they never forgo crispness, lucidity, and brevity of language.
Swarajya has Something for Everyone
For the quick reader, the daily dose of national and international news is updated daily and, when it comes to readers of the contemplative kind, Swarajya is a gold mine. Through its stringent commentaries, satires, analyses, and well-informed opinions, one can grasp the socio-political milieu of the world with rarely found truth and vigour.
But apart from the depth of news coverage, what we liked the most about the online platform is its design. The news stories and articles are conveniently divided under sections of ‘Headlines’, ‘Videos’, ‘Heritage’, ‘Books’, ‘Economy’, and ‘Culture’, so that the time-strapped millennial can find exactly what they’re looking for with no more than three taps on their smart screens.
The genius and integrity of Swarajya lies in its section called ‘Our View’. This is where they put forward, objectivity aside, their comments on the unfolding events of the world with an unflinching dedication towards the magazine’s traditional legacy. The voices inform and educate, but never try to mold. Brevity, independence, and seriousness accompany every word that the dedicated reporters churn out saving the ideological baggage that is but a somber reality of many mainstream news portals today.
But Doesn’t Independence Come at a Cost?
Yes! Even we were wondering the same. The greatest obstacle of a fierce and unflinching news organisation is its financial independence. And this is another space where Swarajya shines, with all its honesty and will, to not bend for money at the cost of its values.
What we noticed on the website was a separate section dedicated to advertisers. The page sheds light on the entire portfolio of trusted brands and partners on which the magazine thrives. But armed with a proud followership of half a million and a unique viewership of over 3 million, it is ultimately the readers who are the main source of Swarajya’s revenues.
To thrive in this competitive market without compromising with its ideals, the magazine publishes stories from external journalists to give a voice to anyone with a unique perspective of a contemporary socio-political event and to benefit budding reporters and journalists.
It Hasn’t Been a Smooth Ride for Swarajya
Shelley wonderfully articulated that our sweetest tales are the ones born of the saddest thoughts. Likewise, continuing and flourishing the legacy of independence for over 64 years is anything but easy. The journey of Swarajya is even tougher because its founders never ceased fighting for the cause of the individual and shaping the country along the ideals enshrined in the constitution. The 1970s witnessed the eventual decline of the newspaper after Rajaji’s death with it shutting down altogether in 1980.
But as the world went online, the founders of the magazine were quick to catch onto the trend. Thus, its revamp to an online magazine in 2014 was quite similar to the metaphor of a much needed phoenix rising from the ashes. Eventually, Swarajya regained its vigour in 2015 when its first newsprint publication was launched. After acquiring OpIndia in 2016, it declared itself an independent media organisation and, since then, Swarajya has again become the harbinger of truth and individual freedom.
The Final Words
Being the ‘big tent for liberal right for centre discourse’ is not an easy task in India. Balance is the key here and non-partisanship is the prime motto. A virtue and also a curse for Swarajya is that its independent and scathing voice never spared anyone. It never budged from the truth and its journey is akin to that of an utmost honest man who stumbled really hard on the road. Life knocked him down but he never ceased getting up. The very existence of Swarajya becomes synonymous with rebellion, a rebellion of truth, dignity, and love for one’s often forgotten past.