Sundance 2021: Faya Dayi, Sabaya, writing with fire | Festivals and awards

In India there is another group of fearless women. In the country’s restrictive caste system – divided into priests, warriors, traders and workers – Dalits (untouchables), especially Dalit women, make up the lowest rung. However, in 2002, in Uttar Pradesh, a small group of Dalit women founded Khabar Lahariya (meaning “Waves of News”) – the only Indian newspaper run only by women. To adapt to the changing media landscape, these reporters, already questioned by their male peers and family members, are now moving from print journalism to digital. In “Write with fireCo-directors Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas follow four reporters from Khabar Lahariya – Meera, Kavita, Suneeta and Shyamkali – on their journeys as women journalists to deliver hard-hitting stories while navigating the corrupt political system of the India, its misogyny and the strict caste of the country. system.

Each of the four subjects, all Dalits, and part of a much larger newsroom, come from a variety of backgrounds. Meera, a persistent incisive journalist with a master’s in political science and a teaching degree, juggles her family life as she and her childhood best friend Kavita document the fervent general election. Because Suneeta is from a mining village, she takes a special interest in the dangerous working conditions put in place by the mafia in their illegal mines. While Shyamkali finds it very difficult to switch from print to digital due to his less educated background, his mind is just as strong nonetheless. All of these women, in their minds and determination to represent the powerless, are a bubbling tonic in the face of a cynical chauvinistic male power structure.

These crack journalists resist the dismissive regressive politicians of the BJP party, refuse their husbands and fathers who ask them to stay at home, and resist the pressures of marriage in an attempt to expose the inequalities of a system that ignores their fundamental right to Security. of rape and death. They are easy to find. Especially when Ghosh and Rintu’s edits show how the newspaper’s Youtube channel, with every report, grows subscribers and views, even in the face of a vitriolic commentary section. The admittedly abrupt and unsatisfying ending of “Writing With Fire” does not tarnish the efforts of these women. Rather the resounding message that manages to boil to the surface, “nevertheless, she persisted”, strikes with the force of a pen tip.

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