Local Diaries: Untold stories of Women

Local Diaries  is a show where three fearless women journalists tell us stories about other women from the Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and beyond.These are stories of daily struggles against patriarchy and entrenched inequalities that have only worsened during the COVID pandemic. These stories are local and universal at the same time.

लोकल डायरीज में बेख़ौफ़ महिला पत्रकार लेकर आ रही है आपके लिए कहानिया महिलाओं की और उनके ज़िन्दगी की, बुंदेलखंड से दिल्ली तक की. यह कहानिया है महिलाओं के उन संघर्षो की जो सदियों से चली आ रही है समाज के पितृसत्ता और असमानता के खिलाफ. कोरोना महामारी के चलते, इनका सामना करना महिलाओं के लिए और भी मुश्किल होगया है. लोकल डायरीज शो के जरिये सुनिए ऐसी कहानिया जो हमारे आसपास की भी है और सारे जहाँ की भी.

Show Hosts: Meera Jatav, Rizwana Tabassum and Priyanka are independent journalists from the Chitrakoot Collective. Email id: chitrakootcollective@gmail.com


Podcast Episodes

Episode 5: Dosti wala pyaar / An Ode to Female Friendships

Friendship Day messages have inundated our whatsapp and social media, but this monsoon, Bundelkhand is wearing a deserted look. Usually, this is the time of the year when women’s laughter resonates through open fields. When women swing from jhoolas and huddle together when it rains for a game or two of gotta. In the time of coronavirus and an ever-increasing workload, women are missing the company of other women, their friends, confidantes and support systems.

This episode of Local Diaries is a special one. It is an ode to female friendship – the bond that has no official status, that society frowns upon and that hardly finds a place in our media. Yet these are the bonds that help us navigate the ups and downs of our lives, discover new things about ourselves and the world, and take steps towards attaining fearless freedoms. Listen to hosts and friends Meera Jatav, Priyanka and Pavitra share stories of women talking about their jaan se pyare yaar and their life-affirming dostis. Also listen to Nandini Nair and Aswathy Senan talk about women’s friendship in cinema and media. If that’s not enough, come listen to a fascinating piece of Ismat Chugtai’s little-known play about two old friends called ‘Dozakh’, wonderfully dramatised by Asma Mundrawala.


Episode 4: Dekho Behnen Aati Hain/ Look, Sisters Are Here

There is ample evidence now that the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected women. More women have lost jobs, more women workers are putting their lives at risk on the frontlines. Women are doing more unpaid care work than ever before. Why shouldn’t women organise to face this crisis that has hit them particularly hard? Yes, they should and they are!In this episode of Local Diaries, we bring you stories of feminist solidarity that are local and national. These are stories of women who have sown community kitchen gardens, organised relief and ration, stitched masks, gloves, PPE kits in millions. They have also offered support in the face of violence, starvation, poverty and the pandemic.

Their vision, and indeed ours, for a post-pandemic world is an undoubtedly feminist one.


Episode 3: Corona Ke Frontline Par ASHA

ASHA workers who form the backbone of the country’s community health system are angry. Overworked, underpaid, discriminated and disrespected, especially during Covid-19, ASHA workers are fighting a daily battle to work with dignity and get paid adequately and on time, while putting their lives on the line. The third episode of Local Diaries focuses on the work and the working conditions of nearly 10 lakh frontline health workers, all of whom are women. We draw from the national survey on ASHAs conducted by Behanbox in May, testimonies of ASHA workers across the country, and our own reporting in Uttar Pradesh to tell you the story of the toughest job in the country today in the face of a raging pandemic, frequent lockdowns, and an economy in recession.


Episode 2: Puniya, Pramila aur Rachna Ki Lockdown Kahani

In this episode, we bring you more stories of every woman coping with the devastating impact of Covid-19 from Bundelkhand and beyond. We tell the story of Puniya, a 70-year-old Dalit street vendor struggling to keep her business going in Chitrakoot;
The second story is of Pramila, once a working woman but now stuck at home, whose dreams of going back to work have been interrupted by the pandemic;
The third story is of Rachna, a domestic worker and a single mother in Delhi, who worries about losing her livelihood and not having a support system to see her through this crisis.
We also pay a tribute to our very dear comrade, fellow traveller, and fierce feminist ally Rizwana Tabassum, who was taken from us this May and who made this episode and this podcast series possible. Rest in Power, Riz.


Episode 1: Meera aur Riz ki Lockdown Diaries

In this episode, Meera, Rizwana and Priyanka tell us stories of women from Bundelkhand and Varanasi during the lockdown- stories of women working at home and outside. Women with aspirations to break barriers. Young girls whose studies are interrupted. what do they feel?
Are their fearless freedoms slipping away in the time of the pandemic?