As news feature magazines like Outlook, India Today, The Week and many more soar higher with the popularity, their news stories directly synonymous with mainstream media’s projection. While the advertisers make sure that it reaches you through every possible medium, the content doesn’t get exciting with its outreach.
To bring in a fresh perspective, to change the way we look at things, we present you 5 zara hatke magazines which can definitely be called as ‘niche magazines of today’s India”. Though they are quite difficult to spot at a bookstore you can definitely access them online.
The content, Design, Editorial team and their dedication towards the genre or what they stand for are the determinants of judging the nicheness of her criteria. Another unique aspect about these magazines is that they are based from specific cities but cater to a wide target audience. These magazines adopt long-form narrative journalism covering politics and culture in India mostly targeted at the current generation which is often out spoken and open to different perspectives.
(No, we aren’t talking about Amazon’s kindle reading application)
What: Kindle Magazine is based in the intellectual city of Kolkata which has been publishing since 2008. Largely, a socio-political magazine, they give equal importance to culture, sports, music, art, culture, literature, technology and other walks of life. It is seen as a socially progressive outlook but aims to publish divergent viewpoints and promote robust debate and dialectics, asserting that “Although we promote diverse ideas, thoughts and opinions, Kindle essentially stands to celebrate progressivism and radicalism in every sphere.
Editorial team: Founder Editor Journalist Pritha Kejriwal (formerly of Hindustan Times and NDTV) and Kolkata-based philanthropist and CFA Maitreyi Kandoi have put in their heart and soul in the bringing out the meaning of the magazine. With hardly well known contributing writers, the magazine survives on the strength of its design and content.
Issues they have covered so far: Wikileaks, Sedition in India, Icons against the state, the State of the Left, Independence of small media, Dalits in India, Kashmir conflict
Web Design: A careful look at the website will remind you of the stark resemblance to The New Yorker
USP: A must-read for critical perspectives on all contemporary narratives.
What: Known as South Asia’s only professional and independent print magazine devoted to essays, fiction, poetry, art and criticism. It is also the only publication to offer full-length novellas and film and drama scripts, complete with camera and stage directions. It is not India-specific and addresses a community which is more easily defined in terms of mindspace rather than in purely geographical terms.
Editorial team: Antara Dev Sen has been a Senior Editor with The Hindustan Times and has also worked as a senior assistant editor with the Anand Bazaar Patrika Group and The Indian Express. Along with Pratik Kanjilal who was Chief Operating Officer of Indian Express Online Media, they left their jobs to set out a magazine which was originally meant to depict the realities of the world also preserving the art of writing. Some of the Board of Advisers includes Amartya Sen , Godfrey Hodgson, Ashis Nandy, Jatin Das,and Gulzar.
Issues they have covered so far: Each issue is covered by a central theme like Middle class, Sex & Violence, Conflict, Body Politic, Crime, Ghosts, etc under which fictional literature and non-fictional articles are produced.
Web Design: At the first look the website will upset you with its dull colours, fonts, however if you are a lover of long reads about serious issues or literary fiction, this website will not fail you with its content.
USP: The magazine has successfully evolved without depending on the advertisers and has only survived on word-of-mouth publicity, and this can be reflected on their website too. The content is produced originally for the magazine by acknowledged experts in the field of academics, theater, sociology, politics and art.
What: Using trumpet as its symbol to blow some attention, the bi-monthly e-magazine mainly targets the NRIs (Non Resident Indians). Launched in 2013 the magazine captures the colour, culture and chaos of India that the Indian expats miss and crave and at the same time creates nostalgia for mother land.
Editorial team: Purva Grover, an NRI herself realized the importance of nostalgia for Indians who live far away from their country. Backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature, she has made sure that the emotion of every individual in the India diaspora is felt through her magazine.Issues they have covered so far: Cuisine. Pride. Weddings. Festivals. Couture. Machines. Rendezvous. Bollywood. Art. Culture
Web Design: The layout of the magazine is neatly organized in to sections with a black background that doesn’t strain your eyes.
USP: Since it’s an E-magazine, it possesses multimedia features which include videos of eye pleasing visuals and easy-to-read articles. Even if you aren’t an NRI, it feels good to consume an explicit Indian content which we usually don’t prioritize in our daily lives.
What: First launched in 1940, the magazine was discontinued in 1988. Delhi-Press re-launched the magazine in January 2010 as “India’s only narrative journalism magazine”. The magazine’s richness lies in its ability to contextualize current affairs. Sharp and insightful reporting style can be seen in its commentary and reviews that dominate the magazine. It also offers nips of fiction, poetry and travelogues. Their stories are crafted into dramatic narratives that employ pace, colour, character and style to keep the reader hooked from start to finish—combining the excitement and immediacy of great literature with real characters, real plots and real consequences.
Editorial team: Paresh Nath is editor-in-chief and his son Anant Nath is the managing editor. Accomplished writers like Ramachandra Guha, Pankaj Mishra, William Dalrymple, Siddhartha Deb, Fatima Bhutto, Amitava Kumar, Deborah Baker, Basharat Peer have written for this magazine.
Issues they have covered so far: Issues of Capitalism, North east conflict, international affairs, Indian history, Spiritualism, Culture. It is famous for its critical profiles on figures like Naveen Jindal, Arnab Goswami, Ambedkar and Gandhi, The Ambanis, Raghuram Rajan, Dibakar Banerjee, Narendra Modi, Kapil Sibal, Imran Khan, Manmohan Singh, to name a few.Web Design: Aimed at India’s burgeoning intellectual class, it also appeals to tech-savvy readers. It has a new website that includes a quality digital edition mimicking the print version, which viewers can leisurely flip through.
USP: It has a distinct international flavor, peppered with globe-trotting contributing editors. The first couple of sections feature on-ground reports that illuminate oft-ignored global stories, as well as quirky tidbits of news from foreign shores. The Caravan thereby appeals to the cosmopolitan reader based in Manhattan as much as the Indian attending a literary festival in Jaipur.
What: Launched in 2007, the quarterly magazine rejects the usual clichés of aspirational, pseudo western imagery, and defensive in-your-face ethnicity and reflects an India that is finally comfortable in its own skin. This idea has been inspired by its creative agency Wieden+Kennedy, Delhi.
Editorial team: No details available.
Issues they have covered so far: Each issue focuses on a single theme, and explores that theme through essays, art, photography, and reportage. Featuring up-to-the-minute visual material, fresh faces and original voices,
the magazine covers and uncovers new Indian trends and talent.
Web Design: The minimal design makes the website look clutter less, and it’s linear presentation of articles with more emphasis on visuals makes it quite effective.
USP: Cutting edge-art direction, gallery grade photo essays, and unique stories give a longer shelf life than other magazines