Reporting the ordinary, extraordinarily!
In Video Volunteers’ IndiaUnheard, every correspondent has a unique story to tell. Recently I watched a story by Sunita Kasera, a correspondent from Rajasthan. It was on water situation in Karauli – where Sunita lives. My first reaction was, ‘Here comes another ‘no water, no crops, story”. I was of course wrong.
Of all the places in India with scanty rainfall, Rajasthan tops the list. Of the towns within Rajasthan that have regular supply of water, Karauli is one. Here, every family receives running water twice a day – a gift, considering thousands of people in rural Rajasthan have to travel miles just to fetch their daily pot of drinking water.
However, not all is well with the water supplied to Karauli houses this season. It’s dirty and smells of sewage. Using the water for washing is impossible, forget drinking.
Now, this is what you see everyday in Indian media. Come summer and every news bulletin has, quite as a part of the routine, some news on water crisis. Though well intended, the news stories usually are all about lack of water and people complaining. There’s hardly a reporter who gets into the specifics of the reasons that cause the problem.
Sunita’s story, on the other hand is based on that very reasons. She gets quickly to the point of what’s making the water dirty. What are the areas the water pipeline is passing through? Are there leakages into the pipe etc. And this, I told myself, from a woman who had never held a camera till a few weeks back.
In fact, until she joined IndiaUnheard, Sunita, a mother of two, had rarely stepped outside her home alone. In her ‘Agrawal’ community women follow an orthodox lifestyle, and that Sunita decided to take up the responsibility of reporting the wrongs within her community was a bold step in itself. Now, her boldness has been coupled with her experiences of living the problems every day.
In this particular story too, I see the perspective of a mother whose children are at risk of falling sick, the worries of a homemaker with low income to send money on medical expenses and a community member who sees so many wrongs around her. And that’s why she gets to the point straight away, asking the crucial questions quickly, because as a community correspondent, she is focused on a solution, not being politically correct.