How to publish a Hindu newspaper in Pakistan


Video journalists Bassam Tariq and Omar Mullick (who have guestblogged for and been featured on Boing Boing in the past, respectively) have a wonderful little video up at TIME about a Hindu man in Pakistan who edits and publishes a newspaper for his community (they're about 5-6% of the population). This is, in fact, the first Hindu newspaper in Pakistan.

The guy literally carries around a desktop PC on his shoulders to get the prepped content to the printer; he taught himself how to use the computer over the course of 8-10 years, and learned how to do desktop publishing with tools we'd consider antiquated in the wealthy US. He sells the paper for cheap, because the audience is poor; mostly boot-polishers and farmers. On some nights his family goes hungry because he uses all their resources to put out the paper. An inspiring story.

A technical note: TIME's video player annoyingly crops out all the subtitles, play it full screen so you can read them (unless you're a Hindi speaker, in which case you won't need them).

Video Link.


  1. It goes to show that’s it’s talent and will power that will shine through, regardless of your antiquated tools. This guys is publishing with an old PC from his one room home with 6 kids on his own dime, and from the looks of it he’s printing, cutting and pasting the articles together column by column. And here I an with inDesign on my new mac bitching and moaning when the wifi doesn’t work for 5 minutes! My hat’s off to him.

  2. Awesome! Just yesterday I watched a short film about a small newspaper for the Urdu-reading community in Chennai, India. The kicker about that paper: it’s all written in calligraphy, BY HAND.
    Yay keeping beautiful traditions alive.

  3. Nice effort, but it just reminds me of the idiocy of all this religiosity in the first place. Why should it be so hard to have your news published? What does it even mean to have a “Hindu” newspaper? Without division (arbitrary and historic, in this, and virtually all cases) there are no minorities.

    1. But as long as those divisions exist, those different voices will need to be heard. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t need to take place. We don’t live in a perfect world. One could argue that some of those differences make the planet a much more interesting place. What is needed is much more tolerance.

      1. Fair call. Like I said, good effort on this guy’s part. Divisions based on culture, lifestyle, practice, cuisine, customs etc are fine by me. The variety makes the world an interesting place. It is when the divisions are based on (possibly understandable, but ultimately ludicrous and unsubstantiated) beliefs that purport to give one group of people a privileged position over another in an absolute sense that the problems inevitably arise. Screw religion, but support those that may be persecuted because of it.

      2. Tolerance is great, but approval is something different altogether. You can tolerate something you think is a stupid, backwards idea.

        As per my earlier comment, a newspaper written in Hindi, to reach a new audience = good. A paper written to advance Hinduism, well, I’d put that and any other publication with a religous bend into the “tolerate” basket.

        1. Good point, Alvis.
          @Greg323 – I wonder if anyone has thought of a Kickstarter? Per Alvis’ comments, we might need to make sure that this paper is not particularly militant; considering the journalists who reported this, I would think not (we might remember Bassam of “30 Mosques in 30 Days” fame).

    2. “Without division (arbitrary and historic, in this, and virtually all cases) there are no minorities.”

      Let me guess… you belong to the majority of whatever country you live in?

      There will always be minorities, and it is not a bad thing. Why would it be a bad thing? The alternative is to have all the minorities blended into the majority and by that gone.

      I belong to a language minority, and it is so easy to just be assimilated and vanish into the majority if you don’t care and do work to uphold you minority. And yes, one way is to have a newspaper.

      1. Hey CH,

        I’m not sure I said having minorities was bad. I certainly didn’t mean to.

        Where I live I’m culturally in a majority (sort of). As an aetheist, I’m perhaps a minority in terms of (lack of) religion(data is sketchy). In terms of nationality certainly a minority, and in terms of country of birth, much more so.

        I don’t want to blend anyone. It is discrimination and exclusion that drives me nuts. There are good reasons for tribes, and bad ones. Personally I think religion is one of the very worst reasons to divide people.

    1. [Is this a Hindu newspaper or a Hindi newspaper? – Alvis]

      It’s a Hindu newspaper but looks like it’s written in the Urdu script.

      The name of the newspaper is in Hindi, not Urdu.

    2. By the looks of it, it’s a newspaper targeted towards Hindu Community.
      It’s not in Hindi. It’s in Urdu.

  4. The first thing I notice is the computer (looks like an IBM NetVista); the thing’s not too heavy but it is awkward. Has anyone thought about shipping him a similar vintage laptop? Can we find out what software he’s using?
    Seriously, this is wonderful.

  5. VagabondAstronomer–Agreed. A used laptop of the same vintage/make/model would be good. Additionally, what about a Kickstarter account? I’m thinking he could do a lot with even a few hundred dollars..

  6. @winkybb: I don’t see how culture, lifestyle, practice and customs can be separated from religion. Religion is the culture around a faith. It’s not there “to give one group of people a priviliged position over another” but can be used for that, as can all divisions. And all kinds of divisions will be used. Secularity and modernism will not protect from war. Ghandi and Martin Luther King were men of faith. Being aware of those differences (and other like gender,age,sexuality etc) and not letting them separate us from one another is our only chance.

    @Alvis: The paper is probably not made to reach a new audience but to cater for the needs of the people with a Hindu cultural identity. People who speak Hindi understands Urdu, though I don’t know if they can read it.

  7. jd

    @winkybb – nice point about ‘division’
    But if you look at the state of the Hindus living in Pakistan (their decline in population in Pakistan and related issues), you may appreciate the need for such a mouthpiece – for a community that feels threatened and is defensive…

    @johan – Right about Hindi/Urdu. Urdu is written in Farsi (Perso-Arabic) script. Common grammar, lots of common words. Both languages were together referred to as ‘Hindustani’ (meaning ‘of the land of the Hind’)

  8. The paper was in Urdu; but its target audience is the dwindling Hindu community in Pakistan.

    The commentator commented about Kotri being “historically one of the longest living Hindu communities in Pakistan”. This is a silly (and incorrect) statement. What is today Pakistan was all Hindu at one time. With the arrival of Islam, some people converted to Islam; others remained Hindu. Upon Partition, Pakistan was 30% Hindu; today it is about 6% Hindu.

    1. Actually, the northern parts of Pakistan were Animist, while the North West was Buddhist (and animist before that). Only Punjab and Sindh were Hindu, Balochistan and Frontier were not.

  9. [What is today Pakistan was all Hindu at one time.]

    Buddhist, actually.

    [Upon Partition, Pakistan was 30% Hindu; today it is about 6% Hindu.]

    That was because of East Pakistan.

    When East Pakistan became “Bangladesh”, Pakistan lost most of it’s Hindus.

  10. Beautiful story. Now the geeky part of the Western world knows, do expect donations of both money and hardware :))

  11. He is speaking Urdu, not Hindi as the post says in the last line. Big distiction, since Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. The paper is also written and printed in Urdu. That is not Hindi script

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