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Our 20th anniversary! Thank you, 20 times over!

Published: Jan. 30, 2024
Updated: Feb. 29, 2024

PEOPLE express amazement that Civil Society should have survived 20 years as an independent magazine. Truth be told, we are as amazed as anyone else. When we started, we weren’t sure we would last six months and there are times even now when we feel like an endangered species.

The credit for hanging in is often goodnaturedly given to us in the magazine. We are touched, but, truly, our own survival and success would not have been possible without an array of well-wishers helping us along. So, to our advertisers, subscribers, vendors, friends and colleagues, we would like to say thank you — 20 times over!

Our survival in the choppy waters of the media business is perhaps also a sign of the times. The day of the old-fashioned independent publication drawing its strength from a community of readers seems to be back. It has a lot to do with changing consumer preferences. People are wary of commercially driven content. They want to be reliably informed about their world with stories that matter and they can trust. Technology makes the rough and tumble of news easily available everywhere. Opinions and commentaries fly thick and fast. But the well-crafted journalistic reportage has its own special appeal and there are takers.

Standards are important. We work hard and smart at our stories. But we are immensely fortunate to have columnists in Sanjaya Baru, Kiran Karnik, Arun Maira, Dileep Ranjekar and Jagdeep Chhokar. Columns on rivers by Venkatesh Dutta and peace by Rajni Bakshi reflect their specialized interests and have been invaluable. We are known for the quality of our pictures and many of those which make up our rich archive are thanks to Lakshman Anand, who also chipped in with the cover photo for this issue.

To R.A. Mashelkar we owe a debt of gratitude for being a great advocate of our magazine and making it his personal cause. Ours has been a long association.  

 This special issue is about 20 years of Civil Society and 20 years of India. As journalists free to do our own thing we have had a great journey understanding and reporting on the many changes that have been swirling around us as the economy grows and old equations give way to new ones. It is impossible to document all that we have done, but, in this issue, we make a brave attempt. The special articles we have commissioned track some of the changes India has been through. Once again, it isn’t possible to be exhaustive.

We also bring back Artability, our special section on art by people with disabilities. This is the second edition of Artability and there will be many more to come.


  • Satya Manik

    Satya Manik - Feb. 15, 2024, 9:17 a.m.

    I loved this anniversary issue. Kudos to the team for putting together such a lengthy one, with so many valuable insights in every section. The milestones from 2003-2023 was really striking. Artability too is a wonderful initiative, a cause that is close to my heart. Thank you for this. Congratulations on this brilliant milestone of 20 years!