खबर लहरिया Blog COVID 19, The Last Mile: Special dispatches from the grassroots, brought to you by KL’s reporters

COVID 19, The Last Mile: Special dispatches from the grassroots, brought to you by KL’s reporters

What can we tell you that is new? The situation is bad in rural areas. The poor are most affected. There’s so much fake news.
What we can do is perhaps reduce your social distance from the truth – the truth beyond what must be done to fight this pandemic – and actually allow you witness it firsthand.
We’ve been getting calls from friends in the forests of Manikpur, entirely dependent on trains to sell wood, asking, how do we eat?

From acquaintances in temporary tenements off the tarred roads between Chitrakoot and Banda, who go door to door with their grinding stones to service small towns, asking, how do we earn?
We’ve spoken to migrants enroute, on foot, from factories in Kanpur, towards home in Madhya Pradesh, asking, how little do we matter?
Watching our peers take selfies with local MLAs and their cheque contributions to fight corona, the beginning and end of their reporting of the pandemic in our districts, we’re also asking ourselves what this profession of ours means.
The truth we are straining to tell, and unable to stay indoors with, is that we’ve never seen inequality demonstrated with such callousness.
Because in the blink of an eye, some went indoors, and some were left with nothing but their feet, turned homewards.
As team leaders, we have felt burdened with the guilt of sending our team out to report where no news reaches, even the fake kind. And we have felt equally thrilled to see how and what they’ve managed to do, and will, as long as it takes: feel the pain of the most marginalised, report, go live, liaise with local media and administration, participate in food distribution, wash their hands in Bundeli, track the worst of the sexist humour and misinformation on Whatsapp, Tweet to Yogi ji.
As always, we hope this completes your news feed.
And perhaps urges you to recalibrate the terms of this relationship that thrives on bitter inequalities, on the other side of it all.


– Kavita and Disha
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