Saturday December 16, 2017

Riding on the waves of emancipation – Khabar Lahariya

Khabar Lahariya means a Wave of News

Khabar Lahariya: pic from portal of Khabar Lahariya

By Annesha Das Gupta

Deep in the hinterlands of Bundelkhand district in Uttar Pradesh, operates a unique weekly, completely run by the womenfolk. With the twin aims of community development and women literacy, the weekly – Khabar Lahariya, saw its inception in May of 2002. It was implemented with a view to encourage the rural masses to participate in the path of education and gender-sensitization, by NIRANTAR, a renowned centre for gender and education.

Since then, it has traversed a long way to achieve its goals and disseminating the essential features pertaining to the agrarian community, especially about those who belong to the marginalized sections of the society. With a readership of over 30,000 and a bag full of prestigious acclamations like UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Price and the Chameli Devi Jain Award, the newspaper has managed to crave in a niche for itself in the competitive world of publishing.

The 8-page long weekly informs the community about the occurrences that have happened in the surrounding areas to covering the details of national and international importance. The journalists heading the newspaper are all from the rural districts and their number has round up to 40, till now. Under the supervision of NIRANTAR, the women are trained in the sectors of community and rural journalism. They are made to go through the intensive curriculum which ranges from being sensitized to the diseases like HIV and AIDS to learning about gender discrimination and women empowerment.

Picture from FB page of Khabar Lahariya

The participants are chosen yearly by the methods of advertisement in the form of flyers and notices to calling up the graduates of Sahajani Shiksha Kendra, a parent female literacy program run by the centre. The members are equipped with digital cameras, microphones and laptops to write about the various situations that the community faces and all of it is printed in their own mother-tongue.

The group takes the material to the city of Allahabad where the final product comes out and is sold in the market at a meager price of 2 rupees. Sometimes workshops are conducted for the people to get them oriented with the nitty-gritty of newspaper production and management. Along with it the female journalists take out their time to interact with the community to get themselves more aware of the pressing issues like the lax in health, sanitization, education and bureaucratic negligence that the families coming from destitute backgrounds are made to live with.

Breaking the glass-ceiling and making their voices heard are the factors which can leave anyone in awe and it is now a common knowledge that their laude have extended to national and international boundaries and bringing in the attention of popular dailies like The Hindu and Tehelka.

The women of Khabar Lahariya have been giving an impetus to the rest of the female population in their villages to come out and make a stand in the public sphere and articulate their opinions. Despite, the fact that the war against the patriarchal and archaic mind-set is still on the feisty brigade continues to climb the rungs of the socio-economic ladder.

Among the many positive impacts, a few are that now the women are given the necessary opportunities to live a more sustainable life and the rural families are now more interested in getting their sons and especially their daughters educated on a long-term basis. Also, as the paper is produced in the common language, the people who were not acquainted with either Hindi or with English, now gets a chance to improve their erudite and make themselves as more aware citizens.

In 2008, NIRANTAR, decided to establish their program of Khabar Lahariya as an autonomous organization and now the agency is known as Pahal.

Annesha Das Gupta is a student of Sociology, pursuing her degree from IGNOU, Kolkata. She has a special interest in the branches of Feminism, Sexuality and Dalit Studies. Twitter: Dancingbluepen







  • Pragya Jha

    Good going girls! One of the best example of women empowerment.

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Hundreds of Needy People are Fed Everyday by India’s First “Roti Bank” in Mahoba District

A group of 5 elders and 40 youngsters manage and run the Roti Bank

Roti Bank
Roti Bank ensures Right to Food for underprivileged people. Wikimedia
  • Mahoba is one of the most backward districts of Bundelkhand
  • But Right to Food is turning into a reality for the needy people of the district
  • India’s first “Roti Bank” has been set up to help hungry people have access to basic necessity of food

Bundelkhand, August 21, 2017: India’s first “Roti Bank” is now operating successfully in Bundelkhand’s one of the most backward districts called Mahoba.

This “Roti Bank” is ensuring the most basic human right, i.e. the Right to Food is met for hundreds of people in dire need.

Also Read: Sanjha Chulha: This Famous Eatery from Kolkata Feeds the Underprivileged with their Food ATM

A group of 5 elders and 40 youngsters manage and run the Roti Bank. The noble initiative provides vegetables and home-cooked rotis to the underprivileged. Knocking on the doors of residents, the 40 youngsters ask for a donation in the form of two rotis to their “bank” which will go into feeding the hungry.

The Roti Bank was started in April 2017 under Bundeli Samaj’s supervision and began by feeding the beggars at railway stations. Slowly, it gained the confidence of the local people. Four months later, the generous organization is feeding about 400 people every day.

Slum Dwellers, patients outside the hospitals and the poor are now served through Roti Bank. The people behind Roti Bank have one collection point where all the donations are put together. Volunteers take the food from here and distribute it. The collections are done from 8 different sectors into which the city is divided.

Although, many supporters of the initiative are offering help, Tara Patkar, the mind behind the Roti bank explains, “We are scared of wastage. We will not increase operations till we are sure of the beneficiaries.”

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Meet Kasturi: ‘The Lady Manjhi’ who dug 25-feet deep well in parched Bundelkhand, UP

Living in the forest was a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop, said Kasturi

(Representational Image) Image Source: Parched land
  • Kasturi, ‘The Lady Manjhi’ dug a well for 40 families after they were denied the access to a hand-pump by her upper-caste neighbours
  • It took her almost five years to dig the well completely
  • Living in forest was again a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop

Remember the chills you had when you first got to know about Dasaratha Boater ‘Mountain Man’ aka ‘Manjhi’ who alone with hammer and chisel cut to a street cast in high mountains! Here’s another story of strong will and impeccable strength that made a tribal woman dig a well almost single-handedly in the dried up area of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

Meet Kasturi, ‘The Lady Manjhi’ who dug a well for 40 families after they were denied the access to a hand-pump by her upper-caste neighbours.

Talking about the daily struggle she and the other families went through to get even a single pot of drinking water, Kasturi said, “We are tribals and lived in Duddhi village. But we were not allowed to use the hand-pump by the upper caste residents. Arranging for a pot of drinking water was an everyday battle we had to face for the quest of survival,” reported TOI.

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It took her almost five years to dig the well completely. Speaking to TOI Kasturi iterated, “I told my sons that I will move to another place. In a few days, I made a hut near a forest area.”

In spite of being criticised by her sons and being constantly ridiculed by the villagers, Kasturi never gave up.

Living in the forest was again a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop.

Activist Amit Soni, who works for the Saharia tribe to which Kasturi belongs, said, “This was not a permanent source and often an entire day was needed to collect a pot of water.”

Initially, she would dig at different places but couldn’t succeed. She would often think of giving up but then had no other option.

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However, in January she was joined by her sons, daughter-in-law and daughter and by April almost 40 families joined her.

“In the mid of June, 25 feet deep well was ready but there was no water. Still, we decided to dig it further thinking that rain water would be conserved during monsoon. However, a week later, we hit a rock and water oozed out,” she added ecstatically.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff writer at NewsGram. Twitter:  iBulbul_


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Police to help harassed women reporters of UP news network

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Lucknow: After months of stalking and harassment by a serial caller, police finally came to the aid of reporters of women-run news network Khabar Lahariya in Uttar Pradesh.

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In a press conference here, Khabar Lahariya editor Kavita said after orders from senior officials, police in Banda in the state’s Bundelkhand region took action to trace and capture the accused.

Kavita said the action was delayed yet they appreciated police’s prompt and sensitive action.

Meera, the chief of operations, said there was a need for systems of security like the 1090 helpline to be more efficient and accountable as well the as environment to report cases of harassment.

Since January this year, five members of the publication were repeatedly harassed by an unknown caller, who identified himself as Nishu.

Despite a complaint, the matter, according to Kavita, was not taken seriously and brushed off as an ‘ordinary’ case until orders from higher officials.

The accused, Saddam alias Nishu, was arrested on Tuesday, shortly after orders from the state government.

Uttar Pradesh Police chief Jagan Mohan Yadav said changing mindsets in local police stations was the ‘challenge’.

“Many efforts are being done for women’s safety, such as the 1090 helpline. The challenge is in changing mindsets in police stations in the districts,” the director general of police said in a statement.

(with inputs from IANS)