A second-year bachelor’s degree student, Denesh Harijan works as a reporter in the news and human rights departments at Radio Jagaran. After having grown up in circumstances of extreme poverty, he is the only person in his entire village to pursue a college education. An affable polyglot, Denesh is fluent in Nepali, English, Hindi, and two local Terai languages.
Denesh developed an interest in human rights advocacy after witnessing firsthand, as a child, the range of problems facing Dalits in the Terai area: child marriages, little to no access to education, abject poverty, and severe abuses against the lower castes. As a Dalit, he was treated differently by teachers while in primary school. His teachers, traditional observers of “untouchability” practices, often would not let him touch desks or books, would instruct other students not to touch him, and would punish him severely if he intentionally or inadvertently disobeyed such draconian commands. Reflecting on the humiliation and pain caused by his experiences growing up, Denesh focuses much of his reporting on abuses against Dalit schoolchildren.
Denesh endeavors to reach out to communities whom are generally excluded from mainstream media due to language barriers. He conducts several of his programs in local (non-Nepali) Terai languages to ensure that all stakeholders are afforded the opportunity to be informed, and to participate in, discussions regarding urgent community issues. As a result of his noteworthy contributions to inclusiveness in media, Denesh’s radio programs tend to generate the highest numbers of listener responses at Radio Jagaran.
Posted By Jessica Tirado
Posted Aug 26th, 2009