People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) is a multimedia, free access digital space – the only website wholly dedicated to rural India – that is both, a contemporary journal and a living archive. In a media driven by celebrity coverage, PARI covers the everyday lives of everyday people. It’s the one place you can learn about the agrarian crisis from those worst affected by it.
Building a national legacy treasure is also PARI’s mandate – the only site recording the lives and testimonies, for instance of India’s last living freedom fighters. The site hosts the largest database of songs composed and sung by poor women in Indian languages. It reportsand documents the lives of 833 million rural Indians: their skills, labour, livelihoods, fears and hopes, and their changing lives. It does this in up to 13 languages.
In the past 30 months, PARI has won 16 journalism awards, including some of the most prestigious national and global ones. Besides this, 15 PARI films were selected for screening at the first South Asian Short Film Festival (Nanda, Kolkota) in 2018. No other multimedia journalism website has achieved this. It has done all of this independent of government or corporations, raising its money mostly from volunteer labour and individual donations.
At Manthan, Sainath, the founder, showcased PARI.
This event was in collaboration with Annapurna International School of Film+Media.
P Sainath, Indian Photo Journalist
Magsaysay Prize -winner P. Sainath is an Indian journalist who focuses on social and economic inequality, deprivation and poverty, particularly in rural India. Though the recipient of over 50 national and global awards for journalism, Sainath has also declined several – including the Padma Bhushan, as he believes “journalists should never accept prizes and rewards from the governments they cover and critique.”
Sainath was McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton University in Fall 2012 and has been conferred doctorates by two other Universities. In India, he has taught journalism for 30 years. His book Everybody Loves A Good Drought was declared a Penguin Classic in 2013. All the royalties of this bestseller go each year in prizes to rural reporters writing in Indian languages.
A journalist since 1980, Sainath became a full-time rural reporter in 1993 and has since then spent, on average, around 270 days a year in India’s poorest regions writing from there for India’s largest newspapers, including The Times of India and for The Hindu (of which he was Rural Editor for a decade). More recently, his path-breaking reporting placed India’s ongoing agrarian crisis and farmers’ suicides – 310,000 in two decades since 1995 – on the national agenda.
In 2014, Sainath launched the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), a unique online project on rural India.