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Raksha Kumar is a multimedia journalist focusing on human rights, politics and social injustices. Since 2011, she has reported for The New York Times, BBC, Guardian, TIME, South China Morning Post, Foreign Policy, Scroll.in and The Hindu.
In March 2018, she was awarded the National Foundation for India Media Award for her reportage on land rights in India. In 2017, she was shortlisted for Kurt Schork Memorial Awards in International Journalism. For her work on land conflicts in India, she was awarded the Chameli Devi Award for Outstanding Media Personality in 2016.
As a reporter, her focus areas are land and forest rights of the most vulnerable communities. However, since these issues cannot be looked at in isolation, Raksha found herself increasingly reporting on armed conflict around resource extraction in places like Chhattisgarh and Kashmir.
In 2015, she wrote, shot and directed a documentary film on Rationalists in Contemporary India. It was aired by India's public broadcaster, Doordarshan. The film has been screened in 29 locations across the country until now.
The same year, Raksha was selected as a Chevening Fellow by the University of Westminster to research on Hindu Right in the UK. This helped Raksha build on her post graduate dissertation which was on Hindu Fundamentalists in India.
With a Fulbright Scholarship for Leadership Development, she went to the Columbia University in New York City to pursue a Masters in Science. As a student, she was offered the Scripps Howard Fellowship to report from Israel and the West Bank. Since 2011, Raksha has reported from 11 countries across the world.
Raksha worked as an editor at NDTV, leading English news channel in India. She was the editorial head of a two-hour prime time news show, where she lead a team of about 20 junior journalists.
A graduate of Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, Raksha was a dedicated student and a passionate public speaker.
On May 23 this year, Indians will know who will make up the country's 17th set of parliamentarians since 1947, when the country gained its independence from the British. Independent India has close to 900 million voters, almost the same number of people as the whole of Europe. Given the rise of authoritarianism across the world, it is crucial to take a close look at India's elections. For the past five years, the country has been ruled by Hindu nationalist party BJP, which looks like it might be re-elected. BJP is positioning itself as a party that is strong and secures the borders of the country. The party has made its Islamophobia pretty clear. India is now being called a "Hindu Nation".
However, the actual issues that matter to the voters' day-to-day lives are rising unemployment, the stagnant economy and a crumbling informal sector. When huge numbers of people do not have food on their table, will they vote on the basis of narrow perceptions of identity? This needs greater unpacking.
This podcast breaks down the issues that affect most of India's voters.