The SOPA awards require an entry fee for submissions. And it is hefty by Indian standards. (We feel awards that ask for an entry fee to cover the cost of running it rather than those that cover these costs via sponsorships are more transparent. People should be compensated, even if nominally, for the labour of reading and judging, for their time. We can understand if you don’t support such awards—it is a subjective decision.) Publications in India do not support the submission fees of independents. I, Sohini, have asked publications to submit my work for the prizes since 2017 and fund the fee. So far, no one’s agreed.
We thought we’d ask you to help finance it. The fee is HK$ 1700 per submission for writing in English in publications with a large readership. That is approximately Rs 32,300. Milaap charges a fee as well. Hence, we are asking for Rs 35,000
We’ll be honest: there is no public good that will result from this, barring perhaps a boost to independent journalists who may take this route to submit work for credible awards. Most of it will be personal benefit. Understandable if you think this is a fundraiser for personal vanity.
I want to submit my nomination in the category “SOPA Award for Young Journalists.” It is awarded to journalists below 30 years of age. In past one year, I have written on wide range of themes, from Farmers’ Protests to Crimes of Superstition, from the online trolling syndicates in India to the politics of Kumbh. I have worked on investigations too which includes the Punjab’s liquor smuggling rackets as well as how Prime Minister’s insurance scheme frauds farmers. This has been best year of my life with respect of journalistic work I have produced. My work has been supported by fellowships from the prestigious Pulitzer Centre, the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) and the National Foundation for India (NFI). I have been awarded by European Commission by Lorenzo Natali Best Emerging Journalist Award.
Those of you have seen me grow as a journalist and respect my work, please contribute. You can find sample my work and verify my credentials here:https://seekingsrishti.wordpress.com/
For those of you who are still here, I want to submit two stories for the SOPAs. The first on Ila Mitra, an athlete who missed the 1940 Olympics and became a frontline peasant leader who was gangraped in jail, and became the first to articulate her experience of rape in public. The link is here: https://www.thehindu.com/society/athlete-ila-mitra-missed-the-1940-olympics-but-became-an-indomitable-peasant-leader/article35621345.ece
The second story is about a village school in a drought-prone area in the state of Maharashtra which trains its students for long-distance running. The result is that the girls in the village are beginning to secure government jobs via the sports quota and even more important, girl children are getting better nutrition, the equal of their brothers, as their parents aspire to prepare their daughters for sports. It is a long read, written for the new publication Fifty Two.in
The link is here: https://fiftytwo.in/story/stamina/
A bit about myself : I have been working independently since 2014 and have been fortunate to receive several international citations, national awards and international fellowships for my writing. These include the Human Rights Press Awards citation, the Chevening Fellowship and most recently, the National Award for film criticism. If you'd like to sample my work and verify my credentials, here is my website: http://sohinichattopadhyay.com/
A request: Please do not make anonymous contributions. Put your names to your money!