I have been working as a reporter and editor at Khabar Lahariya for the last 12 years, since 2002, when we founded the newspaper in Chitrakoot in Bundelkhand, and later, at Banda. We mostly report on poverty, rural development, Dalit, women and minority issues.
One of the most common questions I am asked on the job in spaces dominated by men is, “Are you married? Why don’t you have sindoor in your maang?” It’s unacceptable for them to view us as independent women who don’t “belong” to anyone.
I remember, back in 2005, I was reporting against a sarpanch in a village near Chitrakoot for lack of positive measures when his men came to our press and threatened us, hurled verbal abuses, called us liars.
When I became editor at Banda, there was the added danger of working in a dacoit-ridden area. We have had men snatch cameras out of our hands, deleting pictures we took. But we’re used to such kind of harassment by now. Very often, we fight back. One time, I was travelling...