Ajai to Oxford! | Milaap
Ajai to Oxford!
56%
Raised
Rs.4,50,893
of Rs.8,00,000
141 supporters
  • AS

    Created by

    Ajai Sreevatsan
  • A

    This fundraiser will benefit

    Ajai

    from Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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My name is Ajai. I am a journalist/writer/data nerd and I am seeking your help to go do an MSc in Social Data Science at Oxford University.

I first became a journalist in the shadow of the 2008-09 great financial recession. Most recently, I was a long reads/special assignments editor with the Livemint newspaper in Delhi. Over the years, I’ve witnessed the degeneration of the media environment first-hand. And I’ve bid teary farewells to so many talented colleagues who’ve moved on to corporate communication, think tanks, or public policy roles. I couldn’t or wouldn’t leave because journalism is very personal to me. It gave me a purpose beyond myself, taught me how to hold strong views yet state them kindly, and compelled me to always always make an effort to understand someone even if I necessarily did not agree with them.
In a fraught environment globally for the free press, I’ve survived within the media by often relying on data as a tool to try and have meaningful conversations beyond political differences. In the past, I’ve written sensitively about India’s two-decade-old jobs crisis, the pandemic-induced migrant exodus, and even something as seemingly banal (but, in fact, highly consequential) as how and why the Indian monsoon is changing dramatically.
The Oxford journey is part of this effort to bring more rigour into journalism; to try and find ways to reach a modicum of common ground on the big issues/challenges of our time. I also hope it’ll help me fulfil my long-term vision of starting a data unit/consultancy (like the NYT’s Upshot or the Economist Intelligence Unit), which can cross-subsidize an independent media outlet.
Unfortunately, the Oxford price tag is roughly Rs 38 lakh and after exhausting every other option (a small college scholarship, loan for the collateral that I can put up, savings), I am still at least Rs 8 lakh short. My retired parents live on a monthly pension of Rs 35,000 (about $450) and cannot support me in any way (see FAQs for all the details/supporting documents). Thus, after much thought, I am starting this crowdfunding campaign to try and raise this amount.

If you find either me or my story unconvincing for any reason, do at least consider supporting/subscribing to a media outlet that you feel is doing the right thing more often than not. We owe it to each other to find ways to improve the quality of our public discourse. This little experiment called democracy that we all are a part of depends on it.
Thanks for your time and patience. If you have any questions, do feel free to reach out to me via email at ajai5687@gmail.com. I’ll be as transparent as possible.

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