By Tarana Faroqui,
Edited by Anandita Malhotra, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
Ace journalist P. Sainath has initiated PARI-People achieve of Rural India to discover the untold stories from all across the length and breadth of India. Those stories which get ignored and will not be covered by mainstream media organisations. As he rightly says “There is a continent within our sub continent”. Which currently comprises of 833 million people who speak 780 different languages and six of them are spoken 50 million of them and by 80 million and one by 500 million.
He feels that today in journalism we have lost the art of storytelling and he aims to revive it. The “Everyday lives of everyday people” is the main focus of this initiative. Some of the most interesting stories range from a fisherman poetry protesting against the POSCO plant in Orissa to 73 year old man who runs a library with 160 books and a tea shop in Kerala lowest literary zone Edamalakudy to the story of a Male dancer who performs folk and classical dance.
PARI is a platform that comprises of audio, video, still photographs and text which reflects the rich diversity of stories in rural India. PARI is run by crowd funding which is monitored by an editorial team of 800 volunteer. Who range from professional journalist to freelancers and rookie journalists. PARI website went officially live on 5 December 2014.
Once you log onto the website ruralindiaonline.org your attention gets diverted to the interesting sub sections or categories on the website such as the rural in the urban, Dalit,Women etc.The most fascinating section which I really liked was which is called ‘faces’. The idea behind the category is to categorise people all across the country and identify them by Placing them alphabetically along with their photograph and once you click on a photograph details such as age ,name, occupation, village and district etc are shown.
Another initiative of PARI is to provide free textbooks for teachers, students, researchers for academic purposes. Students as a part of their coursework produce research papers, articles, and documentaries etc which are often of very good quality but is kept in heaps of papers in college cupboards and never read after being evaluated. At PARI they encourage students to preserve their work; PARI has tied up with some educational institutions which allow the students to showcase their work. By doing so it is easily available to anyone to study it all around the world easily. Thus a resource bank on rural India is created which in turn increases knowledge on the subject matter as well.
Another project undertaken is the “Resources” section the aim is to put up all official (and unofficial but credible) reports relating to Rural India. For instance, every one of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) reports, Planning Commission Reports, Reports by the United Nations and its related bodies as well.
Tarana Faroqi is a second year journalism student at Lady Shri Rram College for women. She is an avid reader and her interest span ranges from international affairs, social issues, and politics to films, old Hindi music writing and food. She is big coffee addict and loves to travel and explore new places. A little perfectionist and hyperactive of sorts always wants the best end result. Being a social butterfly she is a friendly person by nature who is always willing to lend a helping hand. She describes herself as a feminist and aspires to work in the United Nations since she was in school.