Shu quotes a Gondi scholar, Moti Ravan,
who points out that Gondi speakers are divided across five states.
"Gondi is an ancient language [but] every new census shows fewer and
fewer Gondi speakers. There are no government-run schools where the
medium of instruction is Gondi, and the state-run All India Radio does
not broadcast any news in the language."
If ever a language deserved its own
community broadcast service, it is Gondi. But of course, Gondi is "the
“lingua franca” of the Naxal movement", and CGNet Swara has
been hounded from server to server, state to state, in its struggle to
keep the unique news service alive for its underprivileged listeners.
The Dandakaranya region covers nearly 100,000 sq kms across four states.
While the possibility of getting CR licences for the region is not
exactly zero, you only have to overlay Dandakarnaya over the CR Map of
India to see why Shu plays around with mobiles, the internet, CB Radio
and other exotic technologies to get his people connected.
In his simple and moving acceptance speech
Shu said: "India, though, is world’s biggest democracy, we do not allow
Radio. We will need help from outside like yours who can give us space
in Radio transmitters.
But it will be a different type of radio,
new radio. In this democratic radio, programs will not be created in
studios or newsrooms but they will be created in far off forests and
villages where people through their mobile phone will report. Some of us
in the middle on computer/internet will work on improving/editing them.
We Journalists will also be elected by the community and not selected by
the powerful few. This way we will create news which is by the people,
of the people and for the people. If we want a better democracy, a
peaceful tomorrow, we cannot leave Journalism in the hands of few any
more. Time has come, like politics, Journalism also needs to become
And it is possible."
This year's Digital Activism Awards
shortlist had 17 nominees, who "courageously and creatively stood up
against some of the world's most repressive regimes". Shubhranshu beat
Edward Snowden to win the Award.
Compared to doing news in Gondi, leaking
classified documents from the NSA must be a walk in the park.
published piece was circulated through googlegroup india-ej.
[Sajan Venniyoor is the
Country Representative of
for India, Sri
Lanka and Bhutan. He is also a founder member of Community Radio Forum,