Taaza Khabar: Kavita covering Elections - Part 2
Director: Bishakha Datta; Cinematographer: Ranu Ghosh
Duration: 00:23:39; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 70.134; Saturation: 0.038; Lightness: 0.299; Volume: 0.230; Cuts per Minute: 13.314; Words per Minute: 34.321
Summary: Part of the footage of the film Taaza Khabar directed by Bishakha Datta and produced by Nirantar. The film is about the journey of a team of all women journalists of Khabar Lahariya (a grassroots newspaper published by the women themselves) through several obstacles. The determined efforts are to ensure the 62nd issue of Khabar Lahariya reaches its readers on time. The women are from Chitrakoot district in U.P. who report stories that find no space in mainstream media. It also portrays how these women have created their own space and established their identity in a context where patriarchy and caste-based discriminations are dominant. In this event, Kavita, one of the Khabar Lahariya journalists, continues to try and cover the Gram Panchayat elections. She walks across crowded streets of men asking if she could talk to winning candidates. She finds her way through, asking questions, probing and asserting her identity as a journalist.
Kavita (K): How many votes did she win with?
Man (M): About 100
K: No everyone's, I mean of all the pradhans?
M: Some 40, some 70, some as much as 400
K: What is the thought now that she has won twice?
M: She has to work on water and drainage as she has won for the second time.
M: Now that the public has voted for her the second time…
Kavita, one of the Khabar Lahariya journalists, continues to try to cover the Gram Panchayat elections. She writes notes in her diary while walking and talking to the woman candidate who just won the elections and her husband. She asks him about the results of the elections, while trying to check the possibility of talking to the pradhan (elected leader). One of the policemen asks her who she and her accomplice is and she says that they are journalists from Khabar Lahariya. She clarifies the name of the newspaper as he did not seem to follow what she said the first time. After he acknowledges it and she walks away, Kavita starts to laugh at the way she needs to keep reasserting her identity to carry on her task.
Karwi, Chitrakoot, UP
K: Now we will go and find the winning candidates, even if we find men pradhans we need to ask them questions. I have only met one. Secondly I want to find out about the administration in this place.
K: I am a journalist from Khabar Lahariya
K: Any winner here?
Man: All those who have won have gone ahead
K: Any winning candidates here?
Man: No, all went ahead
K: Can you tell me your perspective on the counting and the administrative efficiency?
Man: How can I tell you when I did not get inside?
K: Otherwise also something you can tell me…
Man: It's such a huge crowd where I am standing, what do I tell you about?
K: How were the arrangements made by the administration?
Man: Outside from here I cannot say what is going wrong or right…
Man1: The trouble is that the results have not come in yet; we have been waiting for a long time.
Man2: I have been here since 8 in the morning, the results have still not been declared.
Man1: Atleast tell the public something…make some announcements.
K: Since when is Rashen gaon (village) fiasco on?
Man1; Since 9 in the morning
K: That has still not been sorted!
K: Its counting has been on since 9?
Man: We do not know…we have been waiting since 8 a.m
Kavita walks towards a large crowd of men, and tries to make way as the woman candidate and her husband follow her. Kavita asks aloud if there are any winning candidates present in the crowd. She finds out that they have all gone ahead. She tries to ask one of the men if he could share some information with her. The crowd of men around her enthusiastically start to share grievances with her and Kavita notes it in her diary. She then asks them if there were any women who stood for the elections, and why they aren't there during the polls.
K: Ok tell me which village are you from and whats the seat?
K: Neutral seat…anyone can contest? Any women contesting?
K: Are their women candidates in your village?
Man3: Ours has a SC (Scheduled caste) seat, no women are contesting from there.
Man2: In my constituency there are 9 contestants and there are women contesting.
K: Have they come for the counting?
Man2: I do not think so…they do not come…
K: Why are their any difficulties? I want to know your opinion on the same
Man2: I do not know….this needs to be found out..
K: You right now said they have not come….
Man2: No this needs to be found out.
K: Anybody from your house contesting?
Man2: No, nobody from mine
K: Let me go, brother make way
Kavita continues to make her way through the crowded streets looking for winning candidates. She finally finds a woman who stood for elections and tries to get some information, when suddenly there are drum beats and music playing on the streets. The other woman candidate who won the election is being honored and garlanded. Kavita watches the development and moves across the street, walking ahead.
K: Any winner here?
Man: Yes there is one ahead
K: Which village?
K: I have spoken to her….anybody else?
Kavita moves ahead
K: Anyone who has won the elections?
Man: All winners keep going ahead
K: Anyone near you?
Kavita moves through the crowd
Passes by a Bhaaji stall
K: You are from which village?
K: Are the votes being counted?
Woman: Are they?
K: I am asking you
Woman: I do not know
K: You are the only woman contesting from there?
K: Which village?
K: Ok Barachi
Kavita looking around
Kavita moving through crowds on the road
K: Which all villages have finished counting votes
Man: I do not know, its all haphazard
K: Those who have won where are they?
Man: Those who are winning are moving towards their own places
Man: There is someone there with the instruments and all…
K: She is from Sangrampur, I have spoken to her.
K: Which village are you all from?
K: Has anybody won?
K: Is there anybody from Bharatkoop?
Man: Yes one went ahead, maybe has gone till the four signal crossing
K: If I walk down I will get hold of her?
Voice: She is much ahead, but you might get her
Kavita walks and talks to men persistenly asking them where she can find winning candidates, walking across the streets and asking whoever may be able to give her a headway.
K: Which village are you from
K: Anybody won from there?
Man: No the results have not come in yet
Announcements are being made in front of a huge crowd and some men shout out supportive words for the contestants. Kavita looks over the whole action from a balcony. Men are seen eagerly waiting to hear the results. The entrance to 'Chitrakoot Intercollege', the venue to the polling results is seen at a distance. There is the sound of loud chatter while the men wait.
Voice: The women who are coming out winning…the garlands are being put on their husbands
K: What is your name?
One of the men tell her that although it's the woman who won the elections, the husband is the one who is honored and garlanded. Kavita intently listens and takes down notes while he speaks. The men have a discussion amongst themselves regarding this.
Man: Please let me come into the frame
K: Wait he is saying something…
Rajendra (R) : Whichever woman is winning, they are not being congratulated, its their husbands. So one can imagine how the administration will function. Its just their names, they play no role. Its just that women are nominal heads. Women will be deprived
K: What should happen in your opinion?
Man: The women who have won the elections should be felicitated and not their husbands, whoever wins should get the recognition and power and not their male counterparts.
Kavita takes notes.
Voice: Say what is happening…
K: The woman in the veil is the one who has won but the husband is being cheered for and being congratulated and recognized as the winner; the woman is standing alone and moving alone. The whole hullabaloo is around the man.
I haven't seen this ever, even its my first time reporting the results but….
Announcements being made: News from Gram Panchayat, from Imli contestant Shariya has won the elections. She has won by 432 votes, she has won over Mrs. Rajni who was contesting from Kanni. She has won 205.
The electricity board engineer is requested to come here
The winning woman candidate walks down the street. She has her head covered with her saree. She is garlanded just once without much noise. The crowd runs to her husband and garlands him with great excitement, congratulating him with more garlands, cheering loudly. He walks through the crowd and is carried by the men on their shoulders. He waves to the crowd and enjoys the attention, while the woman is left behind. Kavita is surprised and aghast at the whole incident.
Annoucements are being made about the woman candidate's victory from the polling result arena. The ariel shot of the crowd shows the huge number of people who have turned up at the venue.