Community Correspondents

Bideshini Patel

Bideshini has been working ever since she graduated from school. Currently, she is enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work programme at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). She recalls one of her fondest childhood memories-- when my picture was published in a magazine called Anteswara. She didn't know anything about what a camera was or what publishing was then. "They called me and took a photograph. When it was published, I saw a copy of the magazine with my photo in it. I felt very happy. I felt certain about doing something in life, escaping from the trouble at home", she says. Since then, she has worked with many NGOs in Balangiri, Sundergarh Gramin Unnayan Pratisthan (SGUP), as part of many programs. She has worked on an Action Aid project on HIV-AIDS as a women's organiser, as an area coordinator, and also as a program manager in a project sponsored by Andheri-Hilfe. Bidehsini's focus areas are women's health and education.  "I always plan a month in advance. My daily routine involves meeting many women, overseeing self-help-groups. My main problem is my knowledge of English and of computers, both of which I am working on. After 16 years of working in the social sector, that's why I am still stuck at the program manager level!" Bideshini heard of VV from reporter and writer Sandeep Patnaik. "There are many media organisations in my region – Indian Express, OTV, ETV, Dainik Jagran etc. They don't always report the truth. They only cover what they think are 'big issues', they don't look at the small things that affect people's lives." Bideshini is also a part of Video Volunteers' campaign #KhelBadal to dismantle patriarchy. The campaign is taking on patriarchy through stories of women and men who face, negotiate and challenge patriarchy in everyday life — at home, at work, at school, in cultural and public spaces. Under the campaign, she makes films that capture the nuances of routine, normalised gender discrimination, stories of change and runs Gender Discussion Clubs where lively, introspective conversations around gender equality and patriarchy happen. Besides working in the social sector, Bideshini is also a trained artist. "I write and direct plays, I dance, and I also sing on the radio", she says. "Now, I run a small women's organisation in Bonai, Lahunipada. It is a small sangathan (collective), I don't plan to register it as an NGO or anything like that." She created the collective to save the Khandadhar Falls; the land is under threat from the infamous POSCO project. Bideshini feels that the best thing about the people's struggle is their unity. "If anything happens, they gather instantly. The slogan of our movement is Khandadhar bachao, Posco hatao!" she says. Today, the Orissa Mining Corporation is creating havoc in the area – displacing people, polluting the air and water. Bideshini hopes that the land will become green and fertile again, like it once was.  "Being a Community Correspondent gives me strength. Watching the India Unheard videos reminds me of how far I have come." With her camera as her tool, Bideshini hopes to takes on corruption and societal evils and wants to encourage her community to do so as well. 

Videos from Bideshini

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While Mining Giants Rejoice, Adivasis are Left with No Water

/ July 18, 2018

As the Odisha Mining Corporation diverts water resources for its iron ore mines, local communities face a drought-like situation.

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State Repression Forces Adivasis Out of Their Land in Odisha

/ June 29, 2018

The PESA law makes it mandatory for village councils to be consulted before any land acquisition in the village, but it is being blatantly violated today.

Impact Story

Adivasi Community in Odisha Stakes Claim to Forest Land, Wins

/ May 30, 2018

The Forest Rights Act entitles Adivasi and forest-dwelling communities to both individual and community land ownership, but the process, mostly, is a long-winding one.

Fasting in the Name of Love

/ September 29, 2017

Karva Chauth has arrived. A festival of love as some call it, is just one more occasion for advertisers to ply you with everything from garish lehengas to bejewelled sieves and special facials and hairdos.

No Cards

Disability Pension: Too Little, Too Late

/ September 26, 2017

How many lives will it take to shake the government out of its slumber and implement and better the disability pension schemes?

Ostracism in the Name of Respect

/ June 7, 2017

A woman is expelled from her marital home and shunned by her neighbours for addressing in-laws by their name.

The fight to save Nature from Mining, by the indigenous of Odisha

/ November 21, 2016

The indigenous of Odisha have been on the forefront to defend the abundant nature against the ravages of mining in the state since a decade. From the tribals at the foothills of Niyamgiri hills to the village residents in the plains of Bolangir near the lower Suktel dam, have been...