Community Correspondents

Anil Kumar Saroj

Anil Kumar Saroj

Anil Kumar Saroj is a social worker and Community Correspondent who reports on issues related to employment, corruption, caste, and women’s rights.

Entrepreneurialism and a commitment to justice and equality are deeply embedded within Anil. His lower caste status caused him and his family to experience discrimination and unemployment. The hostility drove his family to move to the slums of Mumbai, so at a young age, Anil experienced the daily struggles of slum survival. The 1993 Mumbai riots again forced Anil’s family to flee, and they reluctantly returned to their village. But this time, Anil returned with energy to respond to issues of caste and inequality. Anil began his social change work by informing Dalits, landless people, women and minority groups about their rights as citizens. He joined People for Peace Service Society that supports the mobilisation of marginalised citizens to implement solutions to problems they face. His deep commitment to supporting his community members is reflected in his job as an independent social worker within the community.

Anil believes that his community cannot develop without the advancement of women. I the late 1990s, he worked to create economic opportunities for women, such as opening a space for women workers in the agarbatti market. This initiative was done through the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana government programme that aimed to provide employment to the unemployed poor. Originally, Anil was hopeful that the programme would create positive change, but Anil found that it was filled with corruption. Anil turned to journalism as a means to expose corrupt practices and to advocate for women’s rights and employment opportunities.

Anil has faced many challenges in his journalism. When he was making a documentary on the plight of the Dalit Musahar (rat-eater) community, he received threats for exposing the inhumane conditions that they face in their daily struggles to survive. Nevertheless, he continued his work on the project and he now plans to make a documentary about the exploitation of carpet weavers in his village. He continues to use the platform India Unheard, as a space to expose exploitation, injustice, and corruption embedded within Indian society.  

Videos from Anil

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Swachh Bharat Mission fails 500 families in Uttar Pradesh

 
/ May 22, 2017

Are these 500 families in Uttar Pradesh village, an exception or is it part of a trend indicating improper implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission? “Advertisements promoting the Swachh Bharat Mission are all over the television. The government is shouting from rooftops that toilets will be built. But it’s all...

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Home is Where We Must Start to Dismantle Patriarchy

 
/ March 8, 2017

This International Women’s Day let’s radically transform our private spheres into equal spaces This women’s day are you feeling smothered by pink messages extolling your ‘feminine’ virtues? Are you besieged by offers to buy household and beauty products at great discounts? In the last hundred years, since the USSR, in...

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Mid-day Meal scheme sham exposed and solved

 
/ February 10, 2017

The 210 students of Mahadevpur Primary School, Uttar Pradesh, were hungry for more than a month as they hadn’t received their mid-day meal. Through meetings held by Community Correspondant Anil, it came to light that the issue remains unresolved due to personal conflict between the village officials in charge. A...

Our lives are threatened because we are asking for food. It is our right, right?

 
/ January 30, 2017

“You’re asking for rights? Do you know what caste you belong to?,” the Sarpanch (Village Head) reminded Samaru Vanvashi, a Dalit resident of Bisapur village in Uttar Pradesh. Samaru had approached the Sarpanch because he had not been paid his NREGA salary since 2014 and had not received his rationed...

Our lives are threatened because we are asking for food. It is our right, right?

 
/ January 30, 2017

“You’re asking for rights? Do you know what caste you belong to?,” the Sarpanch (Village Head) reminded Samaru Vanvashi, a Dalit resident of Bisapur village in Uttar Pradesh. Samaru had approached the Sarpanch because he had not been paid his NREGA salary since 2014 and had not received his rationed...

Mother of six daughters abandoned by husband, stigmatised by society

 
/ January 25, 2017

Married for 26 years, Phoolkumari has been deprived of her share of the family property. The reason? She has six daughters. “My relatives told me you have no one to continue the family lineage. What will you do with property? Give it to your sons-in-law?” she says She works as...

Mother of six daughters abandoned by husband, stigmatised by society

 
/ January 25, 2017

Married for 26 years, Phoolkumari has been deprived of her share of the family property. The reason? She has six daughters. “My relatives told me you have no one to continue the family lineage. What will you do with property? Give it to your sons-in-law?” she says She works as...

Playtime for Boys and Housework for Girls: Training in Gender Roles Begins Early

 
/ November 28, 2016

When an 8-year old boy and his 11-year old older sister are interviewed about their daily activities the gender disparities in division of household chores come to the fore. The story powerfully demonstrates how difficult it is for girls to aspire to the same educational attainments as boys, to this...