Community Correspondents

Lakhu Prasad Prajapati

Lakhu Prasad Prajapati

Lakhu Prasad is a potter and Community Correspondent.

Lakhu knows the true value of education for a person belonging to a Dalit community. He grew up in a community of potters, in an environment rife with caste discrimination and untouchability. Despite the odds, he earned a BA degree in Economics, Political Science and History. “The ‘lower’ caste members who manage to get an education forget about their community and the pottery profession. This is how untouchability continues,” he laments.  More recently, potters in his community are facing heightened hardships because of fibre replacements and a shortage of clay and firewood.

He has been a part of Video Volunteers since 2013 and covers topics ranging from land rights, water access, education, healthcare and more. He was introduced to VV through PACS, an NGO, where he worked to educate marginalised communities about human rights and laws. Lakhu has received threats against himself and his family, as he continues to expose the corrupt administration and demands rights for marginalised communities. But with support and encouragement, he has beaten quite a few odds.

In 2016, he investigated a case where 13 elderly Adivasi women were denied pension for five years. He made a video about the issue that seriously upset dormant local officials. They said that they would threaten him and his wife by fabricating complaints about the quality of his wife’s work in the local anganwadi. While he did feel scared, he was reassured by VV’s support and decided to take on the officials. Within a month, the women were given their pensions and no action was taken against his wife. He cites this as his most important experience.

Lakhu believes that lack of education is the root cause for a number of problems in his community. “We don’t get loans because we don’t know the process; there is lack of awareness. Even the schemes offered by the government can’t be accessed without some education.”  Due to education and exposure, Lakhu now speaks confidently about his rights in the panchayat and community gatherings. “We must move forward together and come up with solutions in collaboration with the community,” states Lakhu.

With a camera in hand, Lakhu is growing confident about aiding his community towards progress and equality. Whenever he shoots a video, a large group gathers “The privileged in the community listen and are wary of our power now,” says Lakhu.

However, there are a few topics that Lakhu is still hesitant to take on. Ironically, rampant untouchability is one of them. He shares that in weddings ‘lower’ caste members are served food separately, usually close to where other guests leave their footwear. “There can be consequences if I make videos about these issues,” he softly says.  He says that ‘upper’ caste members have the power of resources, rendering ‘lower‘ caste members disposable labourers with little power. “These are areas in which I hope to bring change”.

Lakhu’s empathy for fellow members of his community makes him a good Community Correspondent. “I’m from a poor family and I know what the pain they’re feeling inside is. My videos are the mirror of my experiences that I try to bring to light”. Lakhu, however, is grounded and constantly looks at his position with appreciation and gratitude, “I don’t know what’s inside me that I can do this.”

Lakhu aims to continue sharing the problems experienced by marginalised members of his community through VV and solving the problems with the community. He also hopes to specifically encourage families to educate their children.

Videos from Lakhu

A Retired Postmaster Revives Traditional Agriculture in Madhya Pradesh

 
/ May 25, 2017

Away from the genetically modified seeds, one man with indigenous seeds has started an agricultural revolution in Madhya Pradesh

A Retired Postmaster Revives Traditional Agriculture in Madhya Pradesh

 
/ May 12, 2017

Away from the genetically modified seeds, one man with indigenous seeds has started an agricultural revolution in Madhya Pradesh

A thousand people from Madhya Pradesh have no water

 
/ September 16, 2016

The handpumps of Bilha village, in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh, have hardly pumped water in the past one year. Due to the water scarcity, mothers and young girls of more than 100 families of the village walk over 2 km to fetch water from Kulga, the nearest village. The...

100 families in Bilha, Madhya Pradesh face water scarcity

 
/ June 24, 2016

The handpumps of Bilha village, in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh, have hardly pumped water in the past one year. Due to the water scarcity, mothers and young girls of more than 100 families of the village walk over 2 km to fetch water from Kulga, the nearest village. The...

Awaiting disasters of a dam project in Madhya Pradesh

 
/ January 8, 2015

A government dam project is threatening to displace the entire population of a village in Madhya Pradesh. The amount of compensation being offered by the administration isn’t enticing the locals as some of them have lived in  Madaiyan village for generations. They will lose their houses, their land, and their...