Community Correspondents

Dasharathi Behera

Dasharathi Behera

Dashrathi works with villages spread across 100 kilometres in Deogarh. Soon after his graduation in Social Work, Dashrathi found it difficult to begin a career in the development sector and that’s when he found VV knocking at his door. Since then, he has made videos on farmers’ rights, especially on issues like irrigation, insurance subsidy, Minimum Support Prices, and how the tiff between central and the state government has been affecting farmers’ lives.

With more than 250 farmer suicides in Bargarh district in two years due to debt or failed crops, it became absolutely important for Dashrathi to promote mixed farming methods of cultivation which proved to be prosperous in his district.  His contribution has enabled the state of Odisha to collect and conserve 1000-1300 varieties of organic seeds.

Dashrathi Behera is an activist from Deogarh district, Odisha, and is currently associated with Desi Beej Suraksha Manch, a platform working for farmers’ rights and agricultural techniques. They motivate farmers to take up practices which will eliminate the use of fertilisers and pesticides in order to prevent diseases associated with them, thereby promoting a healthy lifestyle. Endorsing a poison-free cultivation, pushing the idea of organic farming for at least self-consumption if not commercial purposes.

“I really enjoy making videos on health, education, art and culture or any issue that needs immediate attention. I observed how the mainstream media does not cover any rural local news. In contrast, my videos have successfully engaged with a lot of people from the locality. People are also frank about sharing their views and opinions with me. I don’t pose like the stereotypical journalist, the motive is to gather information and make it available to the masses, these videos are on the issues that surround us to generate awareness. However, there is resistance both by people and political groups and they ask me the reason of my visit and what I will do with these videos; it takes time to develop trust.” says Dashrathi.

Makadiya Sai Basti village is a habitat to 60 Adivasi families with just one tube well functioning in order to access drinking water, Behera’s video coverage on the issue caught the attention of Public Health Engineer and the target officer promptly responded to the community’s plight.

These videos, as Dashrathi believes, have a very high degree of visual impact transcending what verbal awareness creates. It leaves an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of the people, encouraging them to share ideas, opinions and discussions, and also becoming an imminent tool of education.

When the leading paper manufacturing company JK Paper Limited set up a mill in Rayagada district, Odisha, people were asked to give up traditional farming and plant eucalyptus trees in order to cater to their vested interest. This lead to a loss of 70 varieties of organic seeds.

Advocating sustainable and loan-free farming, Dashrathi decided to intervene in the matter and made a video about the same. His video on sustainable mixed farming won accolades and he was felicitated at the Samvaad Film Festival organised by TATA Steel and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. His film also won an award at the prestigious CMS Vatavaran Film Festival, in 2017.

“VV is the medium through which I have made my presence felt in the community and I have managed to earn a name for myself, these people acknowledge my work. VV has made me stand to their expectations and my family. I have been able to find a new Dashrathi in myself. I feel amazing! All of this has made me gain so much personally as well. Today, I have a house built on 600 sq. feet. of land. All my dreams have been fulfilled!”

An extremely motivated Behera aims to utilise the visual form to bring out the atrocities faced by the people of his community, and to make these stories reach the majority of the of people in the country.

Videos from Dasharathi

Elugible 64 year old denied Old Age Pension

/ June 1, 2016

Gangi Munda, aged 64 years, lives in Andharikol village of Deogarh district in which 50 families belonging to indigenous adivasi community reside. Gangi , though eligible for pension under Madhu babu Pension Scheme , has been deprived of the benefits of this scheme for years. She has applied more than...

PDS corruption: Villagers had to pay bribe to get rice, which they did not

/ April 6, 2016

Employees of Panchayat Office promised rice and took bribes from rural families, Community Correspondent Dasarathi Behera reports from  Deogarh district in Odisha. Ten indigenous tribal families are deprived of getting benefits from welfare schemes of the government in Bhatimunds hamlet. Few of them have been included in the Above Poverty...

Respect Protect Worship : Nature

/ June 5, 2015

5th June 2015 | Gayarmunda Village, Deoghar, Odisha | Dashrathi Behera For those whose lives are so intricately tied up with the land, rivers and forests of a region, celebrating and worshipping nature is an integral part of their cultures. While on one hand rampant mining, badly planned dams and...

Demanding Fair Price For Forest Produce, Khudaguda, Odisha

/ December 12, 2014

This video is made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Dasarathi Behera to get fair price for Khudaguda villagers. CALL TO ACTION : To support his efforts and the villagers call District Forest Officer, Baikuntha Bihari Mishra at +91 6641 226 444. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India...

A nurturing environment

/ July 30, 2014

“Because there is no boundary wall, goats & cows eat our flowers and plants”. – Lija Rani, Class 4 The headmaster Parsuram Mishra and students of the Amaghat primary school, Tileibani block in Deogarh want to make the school environment beautiful but are unable to do so. Every year the...

Displacement without Compensation

/ June 2, 2014

Daya and Gorari Majhi were abruptly displaced from their home when the Gahira Dam was built, submerging their fertile land and house with it.  Six years later, the Government has still not arranged alternative accommodation for them.  They have tried all avenues they know to get a roof over their...

Dreaming for her Children

/ April 16, 2014

Given the mammoth scale at which any government scheme operates in India, the final output really stands on the shoulders of a few people who work on the ground among the potential beneficiaries. These women and men are the ones who sweat it out, work long hours and help people...

W3: We Want Work

/ April 8, 2014

Senka Bahal, a resident of Jhirpani village in Odisha has not received his dues from the last job he did under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). His job card came in 6 years ago but it was only last year that he got his first job...