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About Us

The Rural India Project (TRIP) is a storytelling initiative started by a group of students from the School of Communication, Manipal University. It is an attempt to document the lives of people living in India’s villages.

What do we do?

Storytellers of The Rural India Project stay at a village of their choosing for a considerable period of time documenting life in the village to tell a story through the written word, pictures or videos. From talking to the school headmaster to the local chai wala or the farmer in the field, the story can take any direction. It is a chance for the storyteller to explore and discover facets of rural India that makes it complex and unique at the same time. The stories are then edited and published on our online platforms.

From the picturesque countryside of Attapadi in Kerala to the unruly depths of the coal fields of Jharia in Jharkhand, our storytellers have documented the lives of everyday people living in these regions, complete with both their joys and successes and their travails and troubles. As much as possible, the stories are narrated from the perspective of the people living in rural areas.

The Rural India Project also organises events with the prime motive of narrating our unique stories archived from India’s villages.

"'Where's the bathroom?', I asked.
'All around you.', he said, before jumping headfirst into the waterfall."
Place: Attappadi, Kerala
Photograph by: Rahul Menon

Why do we do it?

With news bureaus comfortably nestled in the heart of our cities, stories from the rural areas of India are often overlooked - something we believe is undemocratic. In tandem with the rapidly transforming story that the India of this millennium is, the need for an evolving rural storytelling system has never been greater.

As a team of student volunteers, TRIP is not inhibited by concerns of profit. In telling our stories we practise but just one bias: a bias to mitigate what has been lost with the lack of reportage and documentation that plagues the rural news beat. In presenting them onto you, we see no boundaries and no limitations of form or media.

The Rural India Project also tells stories to preserve ideas. In its role as an archivist, the media makes it easier to delve into the past and garner lessons for the future. But true lessons are only learnt from a history that has been chronicled dispassionately and comprehensively, a history that is not bound by geography or economic relevance, a history that talks of both the rural and the urban. It is The Rural India Project’s intention to help keep the balance, and to tell stories of indigenous culture, practices and tradition.

The digital space brings with itself its share of problems like shorter attention spans, couch activism and enhanced compassion fatigue. But it also provides us with the power to reach audiences wide and far, and the ability to go beyond restrictions of language, culture and physical distance. The Rural India Project intends to work quietly at making rural stories heard, and break the bubble from the inside.

Cracks on the ground reveal underground fires in Jharia
Place: Jharia, Jharkhand
Photograph by: Ankit Singh

The digital space brings with itself its share of problems like shorter attention spans, couch activism and enhanced compassion fatigue. But it also provides us with the power to reach audiences wide and far, and the ability to go beyond restrictions of language, culture and physical distance. The Rural India Project intends to work quietly at making rural stories heard, and break the bubble from the inside.