Life Through A Nariwadi Chashma

How a digital platform in Bundelkhand is telling the story of rural India through a feminist lens.

The Khabar Lahariya logo

At Hathras, a gaggle of media and OB vans has descended on the house gutted by tragedy. Reporting from the scene, Khabar Lahariya’s editor Kavita Bundelkhandi and reporter Meera Devi have clambered up onto the roof to take a look. What they see is swarms of police and a media melee where excitable reporters who’ve taken over the house, chatter, laugh, eat biscuits, and, every now and then, shriek into their mikes.

“The family is pleading that they have no strength to speak but the media has not stopped thrusting mikes into their faces,” reports Kavita. The bereaved and beleagured family has had no time to even cook and the children are hungry.

The women-led digital platform that today counts 30 reporters and stringers across 13 districts in Bundelkhand has for close to two decades, been chronicling a side of India that is rarely seen and seldom written about.

Despite the fact that 65.5% of our population lives in rural India, stories from the “hinterland” make up no more than 2% of all stories in the mainstream press, finds a recent report. When these stories are told, they tend to fall into two buckets: the sensational crime report or heart-rending agrarian distress. When you think of exceptions, website like PARI (People’s Archive of Rural India) come to mind, taking the trouble to also look for human interest stories of aspiration and hope.  

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