By Manira Chaudhary:
These ‘missing’ stories, if not shared, explored and retold, tend to get snubbed with the passage of time.
Bihar today stands boiling in the midst of identity politics owing to the ongoing Assembly elections. In all this clamour, somewhere the real stories go missing. Traditional media prefers the rallies over the old woman sitting for months without her pension, in a forgotten village. The old man who has never seen electricity is not a story for them – but we at Youth Ki Awaaz wanted to flip the script. Rather than going top-down we went bottom-up and travelled to Araria, a district in Bihar whose name starkly stands out as one of the 36 districts currently receiving funds from the Backward Region Grants Fund Programme (BRGF) owing to the severe poverty in the region. The lack of proper infrastructure, education system and irregular electricity supply stand testimony to the years of neglect and under-development that Araria has been subject to.
Having worked in Araria before, I travelled there to meet a group of ten 16 to 20 year olds from marginalised and economically backward communities and trained them on visual storytelling using a basic camera and mobile phones. The only brief we gave them was – tell us stories you want the world to hear.
These young correspondents then travelled from one galli (by-lane) to another in different villages of Araria, looking for stories to capture and share – and what came out were a set of powerful narratives – to form #BiharKiBaat – a direct, un-manipulated, grassroots coverage of the problems faced by people living in Bihar, told by their own.
Watch, as over the course of the next two weeks, Vijay, Doli, Chandni, Krischam, Jaymanti, Neeraj, Munna, Satyabhama and Sonia – the trained video correspondents bring you stories of people, places and problems. To begin, catch the first episode in #BiharKiBaat below:
According to the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), all individuals above the age of 59 who live below the poverty line are eligible to apply for pensions. Individuals between the age of 60-79 receive a monthly pension of Rs. 200, and those above 80 receive a monthly pension of Rs. 500. But how much of this is true when one takes a look at the ground level? Average money spent by an election candidate in Bihar is 50 lakh. But an 80 year old woman is only entitled to Rs. 500.Check out this video where the elderly people of Bihar themselves talk about corruption, meagre pensions and other concerns that the new Government needs to address when it comes to power.
YKA traveled to Araria District to train young correspondents in interviewing local community members about issues plaguing the district, with the co-operation and help of Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, Araria. Listen to the story of Bihar, through its people, in Episode 1, #BiharKiBaat.