By Asmita Sarkar:
Journalism courses in India teach you that one of the features of news must be that the topic have ‘eminence and prominence’. They also teach that news should be about common people’s concerns. Common people’s concerns, devoid of these characteristics mostly don’t make it to the mainstream news. But what if alternatives that could break the hierarchy of the mainstream existed?
Khabar Lahariya, is one such alternative. A grassroots initiative, it is an eight page weekly newspaper published in four dialects of Hindi across U.P. and Bihar. More than 40 women, mostly from marginalised communities, write, edit, photograph and design the paper. The women have taken charge of what is news and are reporting on real issues of real people. The newspaper was conceptualised by a Delhi based NGO that works on gender and education. The reporters have been trained by a select group of journalists and activists.
Today, people like Suneeta, who was born a Dalit, has through the force of her words managed to get a highway constructed to a drought prone village.
With successes like these, this initiative proves that grassroots journalism in India, is slowly, coming of age.