Khabar Lahariya a weekly newspaper in Bundeli (local dialect of Bundelkhand) is being run by a group of women from various sections of the society from the interiors of Chitrakoot and Banda in Uttar Pradesh. Their main objective is to reach out to the nearby villages and provide them with ‘infotainment’.
Despite having a limited exposure to the literacy and information, their ability to interact with various people in public sphere and coming up with innovative ideas is extremely remarkable. Their works have been acknowledged and credited by leading National Dailies including The New Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Tehelka and various other dailies and weekly’s.
In 2008, the Khabar Lahariya group registered themselves as an independent organization, Pahal. With the incredible support from Nirantar, which is an acclaimed centre for gender and education, Pahal has now found its place in rural women’s media collectives of our country.
Khabar Lahariya carries out news that is of primary importance to the masses in and around these areas. Although they do have sections regarding current affairs, national and international news, they strongly highlight the cases of violence against women, issues on Dalits and more. This 8-page newsletter also covers issues on institutions like schools, marriage, health care and more.
Although these journalists do not come from strong literary background, they do ensure the quality does not receive a set back. Significant efforts have been made in order to improve their technical skills, their reporting and writing skills and more. Apart from the above, they also encourage public interactions and gather inputs to cater to the specific needs of the women. Meanwhile, frequent workshops are also being conducted by these women to encourage more writers and volunteers to have an in hand practical experience of running a newspaper.
Depending on the need of the hour, they hold meetings at their editorial office to divide their beats and after enormous research and writing they go all the way to the nearest city Allahabad for printing.
These phenomenal revolutionaries, who have gone beyond their capacity to go on fields, have received the prestigious Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Woman Mediaperson. Also, three members of the group have received fellowships from the Dalit Foundation in 2004, for reporting on issues related to rights of the Dalit community.
Overwhelming technological cloud has also been bestowed upon the offices of KL as they now work on computers with broadband connections. The challenge of consistently making an outstanding appearance in the face of media and having an unbiased opinion regarding the political scenario of our country comes very easily to them. They aren’t restricted in writing what their leaders want them to write. They write information regarding subjects that pertain to them. Hats off to the women behind this initiative, they have managed to achieve what many of us with enough resources have been unable to do!
Read more details about Khabar Lahariya, including how the paper is produced, edited and distributed at Nirantar’s website: NIRANTAR
This article written by guest reporter Jheel Parekh.
All images courtesy NIRANTAR.