A Glimpse of Journalist Aparna Kalra Through Her Writings

Aparna Kalra was brutally attacked by unidentified assailants in her neighbourhood park in Ashok Vihar.

Aparna Kalra, a Delhi-based freelance journalist, was brutally attacked by unidentified assailants in her neighbourhood park, Picnic Hut, in Ashok Vihar. Her condition is now stable.

Kalra frequented the park. An otherwise popular hub for joggers in the evening, it was relatively empty on the day of the attack owing to rains.

So far, no motive has been found. Even Kalra’s personal belongings were left undisturbed.

Kalra, now 45, has spent several years in newsrooms across different publications – and has a body of writings, especially on education, to boast of. Here are excerpts from some of her most recent writings:

Why India’s Richest State Cannot Hire Enough Teachers, IndiaSpend

In an exhaustive piece for IndiaSpend, Kalra writes about Delhi’s education crisis.

With its failure to recruit teachers, Delhi – where half of Class VI students cannot read – is allowing its poorest, most vulnerable students to be taught by temporary, possibly unmotivated teachers who earn less than half as much as their permanent counterparts, excluding job security and benefits.

The UGC Is More About Control and Less About Regulation, Scroll

Writing for Scroll, Kalra points out the control the UGC exerts on Indian universities, and how lopsided the power structure is.

The UGC spams universities almost on a weekly basis, micro-managing the very spaces meant to nurture independent thinking. Its missives cover every banality in the book, from appointing gender champions to observing Yoga Day, from participating in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to demanding academic data to be put into a central database. There are reminders to celebrate birth anniversaries by organising debates and quiz and essay competitions, and a request to send back video recordings of the same.

Why Is Amit Shah Going After Romeos in UP for Women's Safety?, DailyO

In a feminist piece of writing, Kalra traces how governments, especially the BJP, have exerted dominance on Indian women.

The BJP has definitely been nothing if not inventive in sniffing out conspiracies when it comes to the love lives of women in this country. The musical-sounding but dangerous “love jihad” was coined with a Hindu-Muslim marriage in Karnataka, and then entered the party’s politics in Uttar Pradesh in 2014 as the Lok Sabha elections drew near.

A to Z of 2016 That Will Make Every Indian Stand up With Pride, DailyO

Wrapping up the year 2016, Kalra notes all that has gone down in the year that Indians should be “proud” of.

A is for Arnab. He dominated the airwaves, though many wondered why... B is for Bulandshahr. Where a taxi driver’s family got raped but justice was both delayed and denied... D is for Dalit. Stripped and beaten, tied to a tree and beaten, beaten for lifting cow carcasses.

Internet Ninjas in the Mother of Electoral Battles in Uttar Pradesh, FactoryDaily

Reporting from the ground in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh elections, Kalra talks to a young girl who uses social media to reach out to the electorate.

Aditi Singh wears lipstick, lives in a large house and has a foreign degree. In Uttar Pradesh’s testosterone-driven political circles, she stands out but, lineage-wise, she fits in. With just about three weeks to the state’s elections, Singh, 29, has to reach out to an electorate of three lakh people – an urban-rural mix that wants cleaner drains, better parks and a more efficient water and electricity supply – and show them she means business.

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