A farmer’s widow turns the trend upside down

For all their protestations to be the objective eyes, ears and voice of the people, newspapers in India are generally released by politicians in power. At media anniversaries and other events, too, the men in khadi are invited and allowed to rule the roost in blindingly shameless displays of chamchagiri.

The charitable explanation is that politicians are the elected representatives of the people. The less charitable explanation is that this is just a smooth way of sidling up to the powers that be, to line up government advertisements, residential and commercial plots, and to extract other benefits emanating from such proximity.

How lovely, therefore, to see a newspaper being released by Huchchanna, a chemical factory worker who was thrown out of his job after losing his finger while on duty. By Gangulappa, a prime lower-caste witness in a caste conflagration who saw his relatives being burnt alive. By Savitri Bai, a woman who was liberated from the clutches of prostitution. By Rahima Tej, a beedi worker who is fighting to organise together her fellow beedi workers. And by Sharadamma, the widow of a farmer who committed suicide.

Indeed, at the launch of Jana Shakti, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), in Bangalore on Sunday, the farmer’s widow could not even read the name of the newspaper she released. In fact, she held the newspaper upside down while posing for the photographers after releasing its first issue.

Read the full story here:  It’s for the voiceless

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