Cinematographer: Zulfiya Hamzaki
Duration: 00:19:52; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 46.252; Saturation: 0.049; Lightness: 0.429; Volume: 0.160; Cuts per Minute: 0.252
Summary: Kavita is a senior Khabar Lahariya journalist who has been working for the newspaper since it first began in 2002.
Earlier, she featured in the film Taaza Khabar (dir. Bishakha Datta). In the film, Kavita was much younger and was learning
to be a journalist. Now, with several years of experience, Kavita has grown from a correspondent to Editor and handles the
Banda edition of the newspaper. She is now also a mentor and trainer for the junior journalists.
In this interview shot in October 2012, we see a much more confident, independent
and resolute Kavita as she shares her past, her vast experience over the years and
her steady growth in her personal and professional life.
Bundelkhand, Banda, Uttar Pradesh
Kavita, one of the senior journalists working for Khabar Lahariya gives her interview amidst a very rural background. She introduces herself giving her name, her hometown as Chitrakoot, her year of joining Khabar Lahariya (2002) and where she lives (Banda). She works in capacity development, training the team and helping them build their reporting skills. She is also the editor of the Banda edition. She talks about the various active editions of the newspaper like Chitrakoot, Banda and the newly launched Mahoba, Banaras, Faizabad and Lucknow editions. She supports the journalists by mentoring them on how to bring news, how to distribute the newspaper and how to speak to authorities.
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Kavita shares how she has been with Khabar Lahariya ever since it began in 2002. She moves on to talk about the changes in her that have occured over this period of time. In her initial days, she would go to get stories, write about it and give it to print for the newspaper. But as she gained experience, she moved on from being a correspondent to a reporter, and after she took over the Banda edition, she became editor. As editor, her main role was to bring out issues in Banda covered in the newspaper.
Kavita elaborates on her trainer role and how initially she wasn't sure if she would be able to do it. But with the support of her colleagues, she learnt how to train and after successfully doing so, her confidence increased and she realized that she could do that too, by herself. She gives examples of how in the past she would be very nervous and would turn red and her hands and feet wouldn't be able to talk or respond, but as she gained self-belief, it all became better. In the same way that she gained confidence in becoming a journalist, Kavita says her main aim while training is to help the junior reporters gain confidence too so that they can stand by themselves the way she can.
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Kavita talks about Pehel, which is an organization that helps run Khabar Lahariya's Chitrakoot, Banda and Mahoba editions. They also do small projects, for example they had done one recently on education. She then gives a background of how the Banda edition started. It was founded after people in Banda demanded an edition from there, and the journalists thought since it wasn't too far from Chitrakoot, and since there was news to cover in Banda, they could start there as well. After finding out that there was no newspaper in Banda, from publishing just two pages in the Chitrakoot edition on Banda news, they started a new office and Kavita got a transfer to Banda. Making a team of her own and taking charge of the Banda edition gave her happiness.
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For Kavita, dealing with the newer journalists in the new editions like Mahoba also involves providing individual support and counselling to those who need it. She ensures she tells them that it is necessary to create an identity in the field and that the work has to be done. With a lot of conviction, Kavita says that just like how Banda has got its identity, she will ensure that the new editions too, will develop their own unique identities. She has full confidence about this.
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Recounting her past, Kavita says she never dreamt of being a journalist. She was not educated, and never imagined getting out of her house for work. But as she got an education after joining Mahila Dakiya (a local newsletter produced by rural women before the launch of Khabar Lahariya), her opportunity to work improved. After Mahila Dakiya stopped its production, villagers started approaching them and demanded for a newspaper that would give them information like Mahila Dakiya. In this way, after talking to Nirantar (a center for gender and education that supports Khabar Lahariya and supported Mahila Dakiya in the past), Khabar Lahariya got formed and Kavita became a journalist. From not knowing about any newspapers as women in her community were often kept in the dark about world affairs to becoming a journalist with Khabar Lahariya, Kavita has come a long way in her personal and professional life.
In Taaza Khabar (a film made on Khabar Lahariya by Bishakha Datta), Kavita was interviewed where she spoke about her life then, her education, her problems with her in-laws and conflicts. In her individual life, many changes have occured. Earlier she used to live with her in-laws, she never got support when she was ill, she could not do things according to her will. After joining Khabar Lahariya, she started to put her life on priority and what she wanted came before anything else. When she got her first salary, the first thing she did was buy herself a new saree. She is now proud of the fact that she can run her own house, can stand on her own feet and can take care of her own family. She is not dependent on anyone. This for Kavita, is the biggest change in her life - financially, in developing her capacities and her thoughts. She credits everything to Khabar Lahariya.
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Khabar Lahariya for Kavita is very special. Before Khabar Lahariya, she didn't know what a bazaar (market), block or zilla (district) was. After becoming a journalist, Kavita even travelled foreign country to make a presentation about the newspaper. Travelling by an aeroplane was a first time experience for her, as in the past she only travelled in local transport like bus, jeep or auto. She says she has never seen any other place give so much opportunity as Khabar Lahariya has. She learnt to use the computer, something she could never imagine she could do. Now she knows how to use the internet and send emails. Those women who come from very backward communities, without much education and don't get jobs now work with Khabar Lahariya. Using their local language that they have grown up with and giving it a unique identity through adivasi and dalit women who run the newspaper is, according to Kavita, what makes Khabar Lahariya most unique.
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