Indian Publishing Industry and Dalits / Adivasis: FELLOWSHIPS FOR DIVERSITY IN PUBLISHING
>>About 16,000 publishers in India produce 77,000 titles per year in 30 major languages.
>>Though English is a second language to most users in India, 30,000 titles are produced in English every year, accounting for 40 percent of the total number of titles published .
>>The outsourced publishing business in India is estimated at Rs 1,500 crore.
>>In fact, India is third behind the US and the UK in terms of the number of English language titles produced annually.
>> 2006 trade: $850 million
>>Yet, the Indian publishing industry in English has almost no dalits/adivasis in the editorial sector.
Navayana's Avarna Fellowship is a modest effort to correct this gross imbalance. The last date for applications to this four-month course has been extended from 28 to 30 Nov 2008. Applicants need to be graduates with basic English skills. The course details are in the attachments.
The Avarna Fellowships will help Dalits/Adivasis (including Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims) get trained in editing and publishing at Jadavpur Univ, Kolkata. This is the ONLY course in India that trains people in editing skills for the publishing industry in English. Employment opportunties following the completion of the course are many.
It appears even the few dalits/adivasis who are equipped with English skills do not look for careers in publishing. Given the overall societal/ institutional prejudices dalits face -- especially those who have a degree in humanities/ social sciences/ arts -- they are constrained to look for safe/secure options such as the govt sector, civil services, univ jobs; esle the NGO sector. Careers in publishing -- both big-time publishing like Penguin/Sage/OUP/OL or independent/small publishing like Samya-Stree, Zubaan, Women Unlimited, Seagull, Tulika, Tara or Navayana -- are all careers of the privilged elite (invariably brahmins and the upper classes). The world of books and the making of books seem out of bounds for dalits, especially in the English language. This is unfortunate since at least in Tamil dalits were the pioneers in using print technology and the medium of books/ journals to make their voices heard.
Crucially, there's lack of awareness, among dalits and adivasis, about a carrer in professional editing/publishing. After all, there are no role models in this sector. But Avarna offers a platform. Dalits/Adivasis need to be counselled into grabbing this opportunity.