Community Correspondents

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.

A spirit of entrepreneurship 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

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...

Community Action Helps Implement Village Panchayat

/ September 19, 2016

In India, the Panchayati Raj functions as a system of governance in which gram panchayats, the village councils, are the basic units of local administration. Formalised under the Panchayat Raj Act in 1992 by the 73rd amendment to the Indian Constitution, the village council looks after the development and welfare of the...

Family deprived of government’s welfare schemes

/ April 14, 2016

Geeta Devi, a widow from Uttar Pradesh (UP) village has been left to fend for herself and her family since her husband died last year. Governments, central and state, have both formulated various schemes to give financial assistance to help families that are Below Poverty Line (BPL). However, welfare schemes like...

No relief for UP farmers facing crop failure

/ November 5, 2015

Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh | Anil Kumar Saroj The nonseasonal rain and droughts in Uttar Pradesh has damaged this year’s crop. The government funds for the welfare of farmers haven’t been made available for the farmers of Galiya village in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh. ‘I’ve spent INR 25000 on sowing my crop....

Filthy Toilets Push Students Away from School

/ March 30, 2015

30th March 2015 | Chapariya Village; Suriyawan Block; Bhadohi District | Anil Kumar Saroj 107 students at this primary school have to defecate in the open as their school has no toilets. They’ve been in a state of disrepair since the past three years and cause an inconvenience not just...

Safe Motherhood scheme not safegaurding the rights of pregnant women in Uttar Pradesh

/ November 11, 2014

Pregnant women pay bribes to avail free maternal health service in Uttar Pradesh The staff of a Community Health Centre of Mirjapur village in Uttar Pradesh, have been demanding cash from pregnant women before providing service of any kind. As a result, they are forced to buy medicine from outside...

MNREGA is more like free-labour in Mahadepur

/ September 17, 2014

VV-PACS Community Correspondent Anil Kumar reports from Mahadepur in Uttar Pradesh, checking the ground realities of one of the most advertised policy of recent times: the MNREGA act (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme). The report shows hundreds of labourers haven’t been paid for their work. You can ensure they...