March 21, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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A women’s newspaper in rural India reluctantly enters the Oscars | Culture and Entertainment | USA Edition

The documentary about a women’s newspaper in rural India, “Writing with Fire” (“Writing with Fire”), is expecting an Oscar this Sunday, but without celebrating it, the protagonists think the portrait of their work is “incomplete”.

“When the whole story does not reach the audience, it can send an incomplete story and a false message. Above all (in the documentary) they show partial reporting,” explained Kavita Bandalkandi, editor-in-chief and one of the co-founders. Efe by Kabar Laharia (“Waves of News”, in Hindi).

The newspaper celebrates two decades this year, and this time Kabar Laharia is characterized by its impartial statements, always close to rural issues, but giving voice to all parties to the conflict, and takes pride in its information reaching the authorities. And pushing them to action.

Acting as a loudspeaker for the most backward and forcing them to fulfill the duties of management, electricity or water, sidewalks stand out very well in this documentary by Rindu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh Indians.

“When we work as journalists, we struggle to change our community,” says Meera Devi, one of the three heroines, who leads the newspaper’s 24 reporters in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. .

The documentary also shows the need for female reporters to be transformed into a multimedia newsroom, from newspaper paper to digital, although for some of them, the use of mobile phones to create videos, from a very simple look, is very high. The challenge.

Kabar Laharia is loyal to this trench magazine, as shown by a recent report available on the internet in which Mira condemns the ineffectiveness of the authorities in helping many flood-affected cities and how he changes with the arrival of the journalist. The last hope for justice.

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With more than half a million followers on her YouTube channel, co-founder Kavita Bundelkhandi recalled that the road here was not easy, given the misconception that rural women would never succeed in a business dominated by “upper caste men”. Something that proved them wrong.

Untouchables or Dalits

Bundelkhand is the best example, belonging to a Dalit or untouchable community, with very little affiliation with the Hindu caste system, an oppressive millennium-old organization that continues to be widespread in India.

The reporter openly underlines: “Dalits are just like everyone else”, no one is above the others.

“If we talk about the challenges as women, Dalits, it was shocking to see women on the ground. How can women be journalists? How can women, who have seen them working as day laborers, working in fields or mines? These women are asking questions, people are not ready to accept it, but we We stood in position.

The newspaper, created by Dalit women, is another highlight of the documentary, which has already won awards at world festivals such as Sundance (USA), DoxMX (Mexico) or Valladolid (Spain). The founder responded that this was not entirely true because it was a “very energetic team”.

They have lower caste, upper caste, Muslim or tribal (tribal) workers. “There are women in every aspect of the production team, reporters, management. You can not change the colorful story we have, you can not misrepresent it. That’s why we think we should speak out (documentary), it’s our right,” says Bandelkandi without emotion.

People think of them as “heroines” and insist on congratulating them after watching the documentary, but credibility is important, and no one thinks they are biased, or stubborn in showing details that can be legally punished. Identify a rape victim who is denied by the police.

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“Why should we get fame from a documentary? We left ourselves because we disagreed with it,” says the journalist who constantly receives “a lot of threats” for his work, for whom a small golden statue does not make much sense to be naked.

Monso Torres