“Inequality is massively hitting India” : P Sainath in Udupi
Udupi: Ramon Magsaysay awardee, journalist P Sainath delivered the endowment lecture organized by Tallur Family Trust on August 20 at Town Hall in Udupi.
The author of the Penguin India Classic ‘Everybody loves a good drought’, and the first reporter to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize in its inaugural year in 2000, delivered a lecture on the topic, ‘The story of rural India in the digital age.’
Addressing an audience primarily comprised of students and journalists he discussed various issues including the social and economic inequality in the country and stories of poverty in the rural districts which don’t receive deserved media attention.
“On an average, only 0.67% of the national daily front page is dedicated to rural areas, where 69% of our population resides. New Delhi tops with the highest media coverage of 67% followed by other big cities. This 70% of the population is completely marginalized by media,” he said.
“It is dangerous to democracy if 70% of the population has no media assistance unless a tragedy takes place.” – P Sainath
Speaking of India’s 70th Independence Day celebrations, he emphasized on the lack of awareness amidst the current generation about the freedom struggle and the sacrifice of freedom fighters.
Sainath also drew attention to the linguistic diversity in India and how few languages and skills are nearing extinction. “In the last few years, more than 225 Indian languages have died. The weavers of Kanchipuram are now driving auto rickshaws because they have given up. Deskilling is taking place in rural India on a large-scale,” he deliberated.
He also said that inequality in the country has grown faster than any other country in the world across 15 years. “1% of Indian owns 58% of all the wealth in this country. Inequality is massively hitting India, and this is reflected in the field of education as millions of students are unable to afford prescribed textbooks. Education sectors have been privatized,” he added.
One of the attendees, Yaseen Kodibengre, former editor-in-chief, newskannada.com said, “The program was really inspiring and informative. It was indeed a pleasure to attend this lecture.”
On this occasion, Sainath released the book ‘Nunnana Betta’, a collection of articles written by Rajaram Tallur. Nagesh Hedge, senior journalist, Dr. A Narayan Sriram, professor, Azim Premji University and G N Mohan, translator of the book, ‘Everybody loves a good drought’ in Kannada were also present.
Stay tuned for an interview with P Sainath
Edited by Shriya Ramakrishnan
Featured Image Courtesy: Niharika Nambiar