Khabar Lahariya


In the remote villages of North India, a group of brave women is sparking a revolution, fighting against injustice and representing a voice for the marginalized with pens in their hands. Khabar Lahariya is India's only newspaper run by Dalit (lowest caste) women.

Dalits, often known as "untouchables," represent the lowest position within the traditional Indian caste system. The Indian caste system no longer exists under the law, but it is still deeply rooted in people's minds and interwoven into the culture. Dalits face grapple with numerous adversities such as housing segregation and job discrimination.

Meera is one of the reporters at Khabar Lahariya. Born into a marginalized caste as a Dalit, she has faced many challenges. On top of the enormous disadvantages that Dalits face, as a Dalit woman, she has had the extra burden. For example, in rural areas, it is still common to get married as a teenager and to stay home as a housewife. This notion is not only harmful for their career but also for their education because their parents think that they don't need education as a housewife.

Meera's colleagues said that she feels like a burden on her parents. And once she is married, she feels like she is enslaved by her husband. She is expected to marry a man of her caste, not of her choice.

Despite all the challenges and life-threatening risks (India is one of the deadliest countries for journalists), Meera and her colleagues have been fearlessly reporting some ugly truths in India.

The film, Writing With Fire, illustrates the struggles and triumphs of Khabar Lahariya and its women journalists.

Illegal mining, for example, is one of the issues featured in their newspaper. It is a significant problem in India, leading to labor exploitation, child labor, and even death due to dangerous working conditions and inadequate wages. As they investigated the issue, they discovered that the police had not taken any action because they had connections with the mafia, who were running the mine. The mafia threatened them when they wrote stories about illegal mining, but they didn't stop, bringing attention to the issue on a national level.

Beyond illegal mining, Khabar Lahariya addresses issues such as caste discrimination/violence, rape, police corruption, gender inequality, and child labor.

Their reports have had a real-life impact. Roads have been maintained, canals have been fixed, doctors and medicines have been sent, and rapists have been arrested and prosecuted.

In my opinion, a great documentary sheds light on seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things. These courageous female reporters deserve attention and praise as true journalists.