2007 Award: Khabhar Laharia,  UP
Vidya Bhushan Rawat presenting Rs 10,000 award to editors of Khabar Lahariya from left to right Kavita, Meera and Shanti.
Photo: Vidya Bhushan Rawat presenting Rs 10,000 award to editors of Khabar Lahariya from left to right Kavita, Meera and Shanti.

Report from Mr Vidya Bhushan Rawat, UP  (on May 31, 2008)

Dear Brother Benjamin,

Jai bheem !!

I am happy to inform you that we have finally organised a programme to honor the Khabar Lahariya team led by its editor Meera, Shanti and Kavita, whose lives are role model for many of us. I heard their stories and their clarity of thoughts on the issue of women's empowerment. The programme coincided with Khabar Lahariya's 7th birthday. It started on May 31st, 2002 and hence it marks an important ocassion in the history of journalism which is not only corportised but also anti women. According to its editor Meera, who is a post graduate in Political science, the entire Khabar Lahariya team is led by Dalit women with several reporters belonging to backwards and Muslim community women also. Khabar Lahariya is fortnightly and has turned weekly in Chitrakoot. it is published from two publication centre of Banda and Chitrakoot. The combined circulation in a month is about 10,000 copies. The focus is the new reporting through women's angle.

The programme was organised at the office of Khabar Lahariya where the entire team was present including journalists from all major Hindi Newspapers and local TV channels. Apart from this, several social activists also participated in it.

I informed them about Ambedkar Scholarship Programme and how initiative taken by you have now become a movement where everyone is contributed. About 10 lakh rupees were disbursed to various Dalit scholars including several girls from scavenging community in Uttar-Pradesh. Our aim is to encourage Dalit students who are unable to complete their education because of lack of resources. I also informed them about the philosophy of Dr Ambedkar and introduced you as an Ambedkarite Indian living in the United States who is concerned about India and its vast Dalit population.

The editor Meera, as well as Kavita and Shanti, thanked Ambedkar Scholarship for selecting them for this honor. It will help them build the circulation of the paper and help them strengthen their movement. Though Khabar Lahariya at the moment is being managed by Nirantar Trust but the process for an independent Khabar Lahariya is on and soon it would be registered as society.

Meera also said that she wants to see Khabar Lahariya to publish from other states also. They have used the paper to send the message to the authorities that incidents of corruption, violence against women particularly Dalits and Dalit women will get priority in their paper and they would nail all the ugly politics behind it. They agreed to our perception that there is a dire need to promote Dalit Bahujan's cultural identity and the idealism of our great leaders led by Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

I will be sending you a detailed article in a few days. Actually, I have been travelling a lot, find little time to write these days. The work load has been tremendous as being in the movement we have to rush to help people and support them.

Sorry I tried to send you photographs but it is UP, everything is absolutely the on the wrong side. I will try send them tomorrow..
Vidya Bhushan Rawat