Independence and bravery personified in the all-female staff of Khabar Lahariya, a newspaper run entirely by Dalit women. Journalists Meera, Suneeta and Shyamkali defy resistance, suspicion and patronising as they report on India’s news from a feminist and Dalit perspective.
‘In our region, being a journalist meant you are an upper-caste man,’ says Meera, Chief Reporter at India’s only all-female newspaper Khabar Lahariya. ‘A Dalit woman journalist was unthinkable.’ The Dalit are excluded from India’s caste system and especially Dalit women are the victims of widespread violence and discrimination. When a group of them founded Khabar Lahariya in 2002, it was not expected to be very successful.
Writing With Fire starts at a turning point for the newspaper: they have to go digital. We follow reporter Shyamkali, who has trouble learning how to use her smart phone. Her husband didn’t want her working, stole her salary and abused her. He made her choose between him and her work – she chose her work. Reporter Suneeta, who was a child-labourer in the mines and now very bravely investigates the ‘mining mafia’. And Meera, who among other things confronts the rising Hindu nationalist movement. Incredibly impressive.