My Experience: Development Communication

When this semester started I thought development communication and rural reporting would be another subject in boring syllabus of Journalism II year Delhi University  where all you had to do was to study the notes, copy and paste from the net to make assignments and do some presentations and then finally write the exams but it all changed this semester particularly this subject and the lessons learnt in this subject would be cherished forever as it had a lot of stuff that we did practically and learnt through experimenting with things and this was only possible due to constant encouragement of our teacher Mr.Abhay Chawla.

What was most interesting and distinct about our development communication classes was the wide spectrum of issues/topics we talked about starting (and ending as well) from dowry to Yamuna to city to laws to women empowerment to marriages to diwali to oral health and my favourite topic why can’t government diversify or may be flexible while implementation of policies and list is very long.Another important aspect of each class was that each class had something different and unusual to offer and this surprise element was what made me wait for these classes during the semester.

The activities we did during the classes were really enjoyable and i liked the  way concepts and new ideas were conveyed.But my favourite activity was the Joy of Giving it was a real beautiful feeling to organise and conduct something of that sort with the unused things that just lied at our places.Another activity i liked was the narrate a story i don’t think any text of  intellectual competence can help us learn about the traditional media and its aspects that we learnt during that class with little cute froggie (hand-puppet).I even loved our visit to Siri Fort Wall it was like falling in love all over again with my first love History.Even i learnt another lesson from the activity donate a toy (that never happened) that sometimes ideas can fail.I regret missing the visit to Neela Hauz.

Even the idea of doing blogs every week on different development issues was really fascinating.With this whole concept i learnt that internet can be used for much more constructive purposes than just surfing on Facebook and Twitter.Plus, i tried to be as regular and as innovative with my blog.Though i don’t think i did a very good job overall but i must confess i really learnt about some new policies ,views and arguements .

But the highlight of the semester and this subject was making the movie and for me it was a ‘life-changing experience’.I loved the creative freedom that was bestowed upon us to do the movie our way .But the experience was really exclusive to make the movie and the lessons we learnt while we made made the movie or may be mistakes or me experimentation was the real learning and the funn part as well.

Last but not the least i really appreciate the way sir taught us or actually i should say engaged our energies in a constructive way .I simply adored the way each time he came alternative thought ,the way he explained the layers attached to each issue and most importantly he made us think and not just follow the mainstream dominant idea and search for alterantive pathways to a desired goal.I would also like to thank sir for the beautiful video he made for all us,it was really a sweet gesture.Would like to conclude by saying :





Published in: on December 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm  Comments (1)  

Child Labour : A future lost

“A child miseducated is a child lost.” are the words of American president John F.Kennedy but  here in India we have millions of kids who are out of any formal education system but are also facing one of the worst forms of exploitation called Child Labour.India is home to largest number of child laborers in the world today. According to 2001 census India has 12.7 million children who are economically active in the age group of 5-14 years.

Some months ago when i went to Siri Fort sports complex for the first time , i saw a lot of children who were mostly below the age  of 14 years who were working there as construction laborers and i thought to myself if we as volunteers are being projected as city’s pride and dividend to our nation then,what are “they”.And mind you it was a government project where these children were employed and was guarded by Delhi Police and other security agencies who bear the responsibility of putting an end to child labour in the country.Phrases such as “This century belongs to India” or “Demographic Dividend” sometimes seems very vague, unfaithful and out-of context when we look into child labour figures in the country and which are not only stagnant ones they are ever-increasing.

Article 24 of the Indian constitution clearly states that, “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or employed in any hazardous employment.” The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 designates a child as a person who has not completed their 14th year of age. It aims to regulate the hours and the working conditions of child workers and to prohibit child workers in hazardous industries.

The Supreme Court ruling of December 10, 1996, in an attempt to fill the loopholes left in previous legislation and to bring in judicial activism to social issues ordered the setting up of a fund for the child workers aimed at controlling and eventually eliminating child labour across the length and breadth of the entire country. While setting out a long list of child labour monitoring obligations of the State Governments, it also prescribes heavy fines for employers caught with children at work. In addition, India has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But despite various constitutional provisions, guidelines and verdicts given by various courts child labour prevails in every corner and is easily visible in our neighborhoods due to weak implementation of laws.Though when the very same governments who makes these laws and become signatories to these conventions forget to abide by them it gives a message to the public that everything is acceptable and laws are my be just meant to be broken.

In my opinion we need a serious,strong and committed effort by the civil society in the country to get rid of the evil practise .They need to propagate vigorously that children are the assets of the nation and the country needs them for a secure and prosperous future and each child lost to child labour is not extremely dangerous to the child himself/herself but a future is lost and is a loss to the nation as a whole .And there is need for pressuring the government to implement the provisions of laws(right to education) and schemes(such as  aimed Sarva shiksha abhiyan and Mid day meal) for the holistic development of the nation’s biggest asset its’ children



Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 7:42 pm  Comments (3)  

Recoginising Abilities:Making of the movie

Well first and foremost i would like to thank my dear Facebook whose role in the process of movie-making was as vital as mine.It all started on the facebook when i sent a friend request to Pankaj Pachauri (Managing Editor of NDTV India)and he accepted it then next day i open my fb account and there are 3-4 friend requests(mutual friends) and i accepted only one of them of someone called Mr.Pradeep Raj(though i generally dont add strangers to my account but dunno why i accepted his).

Then on some random i came early from the college and opened up the fb account and he(Pradeep) was online and we talked and became friends .He was real sweet and agreed for the movie,shared his mobile number,told me everything about himself ,his organisation(Association For Disabled People) and stressed that i should see his links(which i did and were a great help in my research for the movie).After that days and months passed and typical of me did nothing with the subject and finally the deadline 15th October started haunting me.

Finally in the end of September i started chasing Pradeep as i wanted to do the shooting part before  the Commonwealth Games but destiny had other plans.We both tried as we could to meet before and even during the games but it never happened .On the day, before the start of the games we planned to meet the Ayodha Verdict(in september) came out,so we couldn’t meet then on a saturday we had a concrete plan of meeting the same day courtesy CWG cycling event the roads got blocked so again we couldn’t meet and we both made some more futile attempts to meet but could never meet due to some or the other issue and CWG time just flied away.

Now CWG is over on 15th October 2010(the day i had to submit the movie) got up late in the morning and was dead tired after 14 days of volunteering for the CWG and had no clue about the movie or how to go about it.Got a call from Tannishtha and she asked about the movie aand we both had no clue about our movies(courtesy CWG volunteering , no planning and our old habit of not doing things before the deadline just hovers over our heads).But me being a die-hard optimistic took the inspiration from CWG (if they could do most arrangements of CWG in  one month and some in just a week before the games why cant we do a three minute movie in a day)and our indian   jugaad technology .In the afternoon started conceptualizing the movie and gave up the idea of meeting Pradeep and recording his interview.

But i just tried his number once may be he would pick up and we could meet or plan again to meet or something and he didnt pick up the call and i decided to make a movie using his youtube videos and complete the movie by the night to meet the deadline.(pssst ….i took permission from Abhay Sir to submit the movie a day later yippee my deadline was extended).I was busy downloading and understanding strange movie-making,video cutters,total-converters,audio cutters,photo editors for making the movie and suddenly my mobile rang and it was Pradeep on the other side and he told me we can meet after an hour in Connaught Place and it came as a shocker suddenly i felt blessed and felt all my enthusiasm ,energy and interest was renewed in the project and i no longer had to do my movie using only youtube videos plus first interview of my life and i was real nervous and tensed and that too in just an hour .

And when you are in trouble its always your best friends who comes to your rescue .So convinced my best friend to come with me and handle the camera for me and she did and i never gave her the credit for that.So in my blog i would sincerely like to thank Sonakshi Kakkar for handling the camera and her constant support and encouragement.We met Pradeep at McDonalds ,Janpath and before the interview it was real pleasure and fun talking to him on various issues ranging from CWG to disabled sports to players our favourite sports etc etc.And in the midst lot of noise and rush we managed to take the interview and i discovered i have pathetic interviewing skills .We recorded the move using JVC handy camera(borrowed from my mama).

Then another hurdle was to transfer my interview clipping into the laptop as i had no USB cable with the handy camera then bought a new USB cable but i never worked out with it as well as i had no drivers of the camera and nor were they available on any website (disadvantages of using JVC).So had no option but to wait for the next day to get the cassette converted into a VCD by a photographer and that too in time ie. by the evening if i had to meet the extended deadline.So,utilised all my time doing all other stuff required for the movie just the clicking of pictures of the news articles was left.Then confronted a major hurdle as i lost my camera ‘s battery charger and had no option but had to use my mobile phone(NOKIA 5233) camera to click all those unclear pictures.After the editing of photos and other things the framework for the movie was almost complete just had to insert the interview and final touches were left and discovered at 8 in the evening that photographer is yet to convert the cassette into VCD .I was really angry,frustrated and tensed but finally at 10 in the night got the VCD to receive another major heartbreak that while the conversion the photographer edited my 5-6 mins interview clipping into a mere 3mins and some seconds clipping and realised that i lost my first and most important question of the interview and the clipping starts abruptly from the middle of the second question.Finally completed my movie at 3.30 in the night and woke up very early next morning to upload my movie.

Though i was disappointed with the way the movie had turned out but Abhay Sir’s comments gave me the confidence to put it on fb account and thanks to all my KNC friends who appreciated it.Plus i would like to thank Abhay Sir for giving us this very innovative and interesting assignment ,it was really a life-changing experience.But i was proud of one thing that being a sports-enthusiast i took a topic relating to sports and that too for the disabled sports which we all conveniently forget.And SPecial thanks to Mr.Pradeep Raj for his constant support. And thanku Sonakshi .And thanku Facebook and my mom and dad .

Published in: on November 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Recoginising Abilities

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 3:52 am  Leave a Comment  

We the BILLION people

Precisely on 21st September 2010 ,i saw dwellers of Chanakyapuri’s Cement Godown jhuggi cluster, next door to the upcoming The Leela Palace Kempinski being driven out of their homes but today I read in Indian Express that these very people were relocated and given possesion of one-room flat  in Bawana.My first reaction was wooow atleast they got a permanent shelter and amidst all criticism for every agency (including theDelhi Government and its agencies) involved in the much-hyped CWG i was able to applaud the government’s efforts.In the same way i believe for population its about perception whether you want to see it as a liability or as one of my favourite concepts about the future of India:  Demographic Dividend.And its also about innovation and how we maximise the potential of young and dynamic India.

Personally I believe We the billion people will certainly be a dividend for our country.And its not me who is the only one excited about the concept a lot of economists,demographers and leaders who are much enthusisatic about the idea.Some of the economists believe that By 2015, 32 per cent of China’s population will be over 50, while 31 per cent of India’s population will be under 15. This has direct implications for the growth prospects of the two countries. A simple framework for predicting growth is to divide the investment rate by the capital/output ratio, the latter also a measure of efficiency of capital usage. The investment rate is a function of the domestic savings rate and foreign savings.the domestic savings rate in China is around 45 per cent, compared to the historical trend in India of around 25 per cent. However, what people often ignore is that the household savings rate in India (at around 18 or 19 per cent) is higher than that in China. Unlike south-east Asian countries like Singapore, there is no mandatory component to household savings in China. Privatized recourse to education and healthcare, and the breakdown of traditional social security nets, have driven savings behaviour in China, spliced with young populations and greater prosperity. As the Chinese population ages, the household savings component will decline. And sowill the corporate component, as reforms increasingly require state-owned enterprises to pay dividends. While savings and investment rates decline in China, they will increase in India. Indeed, the Indian savings rate has already increased to 29 per cent, driven by higher incomes and demographic transition. The Indian investment rate has also gone up to 30 per cent, with a still relatively small component of foreign savings. No one should regard a current account deficit/GDP ratio of 3 per cent as unsustainable. So, we should witness an increase in the Indian savings rate to 32 per cent and an increase in the investment rate to 35 per cent. And the statement given by Kamal Nath our ex-minister for Commerce and Industry is certainly points out the importance of having a demographic dividend for the development of a country and our advantage over china he said “This is a key thing”and”China is aging faster than any other country in history. It is growing old before it has grown rich.“”

And while browsing through youtube for a video to be put up in this i came across a video namely on Ideas for India in which they were talking about how to include and engage the vast number of young indians who join the working population every year and the special focus was on entreprenurial skills to National Programme for Skill Development to SEZ -no not the Special Economic Zones but Special Educational Zones to public-private partnership in producing jobbs etc .So i believe rather than considering population as a liability we should all develop an alternative view and start to think of innovation and Ideas for India.And would like to end by saying that i as a part of the growing youth of the country are ready to work hard for the future of the country and anybody out there listening you rather take us seriously and  remember if you fail to do that we are a part of the voting population so beware.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dabangg:Gulabi Gang

As the theatrical trailer of blockbuster movie suggests “Welcome to a Lawless Land”,Uttar Pradesh but not anymore in area of Bundelkhand where the Gulabi Gang is active.Gulabi Gang is a citizens’ group or a womens’ vigil group founded and headed by a fearless and powerful (today her influence is more than local politicians and village headmen) women Sampat Pal Devi who is school drop-out and a former health -worker and is fighting aggressively for the rights of the poor and oppressed both by the Poverty and society and especially towards rights of fellow women in one of the poorest districts of the country.

Gulabi Gang ,a peculiar name of the organisation came after the members of this organisation of adopted pink sarees is their attire and resolved to fight every evil in the society which not only bothers ,disturbs ,cripples,interferes and questions the rights of a women to a dignified life and equal opportunity and position in the society guaranteed by the law of the land.The word gang came up when these womens’ started carrying the lathis or danda the traditional system of self-defense and a tool to used more to create or instill the fear of a womens’ group in the hearts of corrupt officials and male-dominated society which denied rights to women.When they adopted the uniform and lathis in 2006 they were taken seriously by everyone and has chosen this particular colour to reflect no afflication to any political party or movement and as the colour is essentially seen as a feminine colour.

Essentially a womens’ orgainisation which is fighting for womens’ rights in a fuedal land in every domain wheather it’s her own home or for the education of girl child or the obstacles created for them by the system and corrupt officials in accessing  government schemes.Fighting all odds for the restoring the dignity of a women with her rightful position in the society ,economic empowerment and trying to provide them with some kind of voicational training or education for women belonging to all and every caste and community.Now even the men have started joining the gang as they view the gang as a develpoing revolution and a harbringer of better opprortunities in villages with their crusades against corruption ,rights of the poor and accessing government schemes.

Gulabi Gang today is not only a successful movement working towards gender equality and the rights of the poor and downtrodden.And Gulabi Gang certainly reinstates the fact that “Never doubt that a small gruop of committed and thoughtful citizens can change the world”.And my sincere hope is that they soon fulfill their immediate goals of opening 10 elementary classes and 10 professional classes.And would like to end by saying Sampat the real life Dabangg rocks .For more information about the gang –

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Everyone has a photographic memory;but not everyone has a film

For me as a person camera has always been a device which captures happy moments and beautiful landscapes but i never thought this device can be tool for womens’ empowerment against injustice and their rights.Recently read an article in The Hindu about a Tribal women (from Orissa) being trained as a reporter but what struck my attention was that how she regrets not having a camera to shoot films and take photographs during the violence in Kandhamal which not only affected her but thousands like her.And with the newly acquired photography skills she has not only  enhanced her life-skills but as she says “If there are more incidents of violence like those between August and December 2008 at Kandhamal in Orissa ,I will be  able to capture and document it”.And its not only about documenting violence but also how these turbulent times affect the communities and aftermath of such disturbed circumstances(during the violence her family and many other families had to migrate to jungles due to fear of being attacked).Even in normal day-today life camera would make a difference in her life and others around her as she can always reflect the grassroots realities and the lives of the adivasi people,customs and traditions,their hardships may be their success story or interaction with the mainstream would no longer remain just a photogrpahic memory in  minds of people but a documented  proof of their existence and lives and can even serve as a  major milestone in betterment of the lives of adivasi people.

And when i started looking for video for this blog my friends’ video seemed just perfect and apt for the blog.Its a video about a photography workshop organised byMahila Samakhaya for a period of  four days  for Rural woman from Women Court (Naari Adalat) of different states held in Uttar Pradesh.And this video as well the women are trained in basic photography skill to fight for their right with hard-core photographic evidences against injustice and denial of their rights and just reinstates the idea that carrying a camera and using it for right purposes has the power to challenge government machinery but also is a life-changing and empowering expereincing for these women. At the end would like to end by a quote “When i photograph ,what i m really doing is seeking answers to things

Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Khabar Lahariya

Where The Hindu,TOI and HT doesnt reach,Khabar Lahariya ,an eight sheet newspaper is making waves and initiating social change.Khabar Lahariya an initiative project of (NGO) Nirantar is a rural newspaper based in Chitrakoot ,Uttar Pradesh printed in the regional language Bundeli is serving as a alternative to mainstream media for the rural masses and is changing lives  and spreading literacy.

This weekly newspaper is written,edited,illustrarted,produced and marketed by a team of team of 16 women ,most of them belonging to marginalised Dalit,Kol and muslim communities.But the most amazing and interesting factor of the newspaper is the coverage which is of critical importance to their readers ie. besides the normal beats of national and international news what makes them unique is their coverage on status of various development projects and womens’ rights and Thus,can easily be called   a People’s newspaper .Though even after reading/searching most aspects of the newspaper i still cant figure out its the success story of 6 women who intially started the newspaper surpassing all hurdles to todays’ Khabar Lahariya which has two editions  ,run almost 5,000 copies and a loyal readership of more than 25,ooo readers in 400 villages or is it the story of Rural Press being active and providing a perfect medium for the illiterate rural masses to raise their voices  and concerns  in their own language and words in the absence of national press or may be both.

Though the newspaper is always in need of funds but as a policy they donot print advertisements from any anti-social elements of the society or any ads which can promote violence or disturb the equilibrium of society or illegal or unethical activities as they believe in “integrity First” and have set an important example for the mainstream corporatised Media which is struggling come out of a menace called “paid news”.At the end would like to conclude by saying they are certainly the unstoppable Indians and hope their expansion plans for others states soon become a reality so that they give voice to millions across the rural belt.

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 2:28 am  Comments (1)  

If i was the Prime Minister

If i was made the prime minister of India then i would certainly celebrate the independence day in a different way , as prime minister i would for just a day give -up all the security that is around me and would love to feel the freedom myself ,the freedom of being a ordinary citizen the freedom from constant vigil and the power to listen to those people without anyone stopping them to come near me and form a bond who have actually voted me in power and to understand their hopes,aspirations,pain and most importantly their criticisms which would help us to improve and progress.

The second change that i would like to bring would be to celebrate independence day each year from a different state capital (criteria being selected for this would be the poorest state ie. the state with most number of people living below the poverty line)because i believe we are obsessed with Delhi for any to every thing wheather it is Republic celebrations ,independence day celebrations ,hosting of Commonwealth Games and many other games or to host any foreign President or Prime Minister the rationale behind this is that Delhi is no caricature for India ,plus other states would get publicity and recoginition by Foreign media and tourists and last but not the least whenever a Indian PM visits a state capital or will be selected for such huge celebrations it leads to a large scale-infrastructural development so may be Patna becomes the next “world-class” city.

And at last i would I like donate my salary for the month ( an carry on this system for the whole year ) to an NGO or institution or may be a person who are working towards the socially-inclusive growth of India.And i would like to do that because i know if i become a PM all my basic needs are taken care of so i dont need that money and may be someone gets benefitted from that.

Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 8:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Health as a RIGHT

 It all started yesterday when I first read a piece on Right to Health care and well-being buried inside some page of The Hindu which basically informed that after right to food security bill the government is planning a bill for the health-care sector  .It was my inital exposure to a law if enacted can completely transform millions of lives in the country and the way we look at the concept of “health” which primarily atleast for me meant ( till now) only protection from diseases or reducing vulnerabilty to them.But  health as a right simply means practising the defination of Health given by WHO i.e. Health is a state of complete physical,mental and social well-being  and not merely absence of disease or infirmity in its true sense.

What is a most important and fascinating aboout this law or right is that it looks beyond our cliche approach to health only relating to building hospitals,PHC’s and money allocation to various health schemes rather it looks at more basic constituents of health such as safe drinking water and sanitation,safe food,adequate nutrition and housing,healthy working and environment conditions,health-related education and information and gender equality.Another aspect of the right to health is that it is an entitlement,it includes freedoms and a positive-right rather just being a protective fence.The law becomes all the more important because of its association with human rights of an individual and its special attention to the vulnerable groups such as women,children,persons with disabilities,people affected from HIV etc.

The focus on “entitlement” in the act is very important concept because as entitlement rights are contrasted with priviledges,group ideals,social obligations,or acts of charity,and once legislated they become claims justified by the laws of the state.To much of our surprise a similar kind of a bill was being prepared by the Assam government guaraunting its citizens a right to health and the bill was passed unanimously in the house,Assam becoming first state in the country to pioneer in this area.

The Article 12 of the Indian Constitution states that our ‘right to highest attainable standard of health’ but we all are familiar with the health-status of the country indicated in HDI index and even after 63 years of independence the inability of our government to spend 3% of the GDP in this sector (The Union budget for 2010-11 allocated a meagre of 1.06 % of the GDP to this sector).Though the cynic in me believes  creating such a bill,getting it passed and most important implementation of such a bill which requires a lot more money ,a huge political will,co-ordination of a number of agencies,ministeries and departmnents at each level i.e. central,state and panchayats  is a mammoth task and seems very difficult in the present framework and scenario but the optimistic in me wants to believe that “yess we can” if we want to.

Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm  Comments (2)