Charkha Development Communication Network felicitated the winners of the "Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022" on the occasion of its 28th founder's day.
Biraj Patnaik, Executive Director, National Foundation for India, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest while Swati Singh, Founder, Muheem and Hindi Editor, Feminism in India, was the Guest Speaker at the event organized at the India International Centre Annexe, New Delhi on December 7, 2022.
The day marks the birthday of Sanjoy Ghose, a grassroots social activist who established Charkha in 1994 with the objective “to encourage activists to report, in their own words, the stories of people around them, hoping that the regular publication of these stories will serve to keep the attention of people focused on the condition of the poorest.” This dream of Joy was way ahead of its time. Today, Charkha works towards the social and economic inclusion of disadvantaged communities in remote, rural areas through the creative use of media.
While delivering the keynote address, Biraj emphasized the role of the media in current times. “It is not that the stories from rural areas are not being highlighted. The problem is that media as a public good no longer exists in India,” he said adding that it is the journalists who are still alive playing the important role of amplifying the voices of those at the fringes. “The need of the hour is to have a public broadcaster that is under parliamentary oversight. The time has come to take this discussion from the level of conversation to a much deeper level to citizen’s action demanding the same,” he suggested.
The highlight of the event was the felicitation ceremony of the 8 winners – Rehana Kausar (J&K), Ruby Sarkar (Madhya Pradesh), Seeti Tewari (Bihar), Shefali Martins (Rajasthan), Archana Kishore (Bihar), Neeraj Gujar (Rajasthan), Dolly Gariya (Uttarakhand) and Mala Kumari (Delhi) – all women and young girls who highlighted different facets of women’s lives from their respective villages and regions. Charkha’s President Usha Rai – a senior development journalist joined Biraj and Swati, in the ceremony.
The event was also attended by 21 adolescent girl peer leaders, traveling for the first time from the remote villages of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, and challenging the patriarchal and gendered attitudes in their regions through the creative use of media. Swati delivered a powerful guest note as she encouraged these young girls to continue believing in their voices. Every word of her speech resonated with the audience. “We have to carry our chairs wherever we go as the current power (chair) is in the hands of men. There are women writers, doctors, and pilots, but we have to ask ourselves, is there a woman doctor from our village? Is there a woman pilot from the slum I come from? And as young girls, you have the onus of carving a path for the next generation,” she said.
Swati’s note was followed by “Poetry in Performance” where Manju Dhapola, a Class 12 student, and Diya Arya, a student of Class 10 from Kapkot Block of Bageshwar district in Uttarakhand narrated their poems where they talked about breaking the chains of patriarchy.
The awards carry a citation and required the awardees to write five articles on their chosen theme. The awards have been selected by an eminent Jury comprising senior media persons based in Banaras, Ahmedabad, and Jammu and Kashmir.