NEW: Patralekha is part of an international, multi-disciplinary team of experts assisting Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) design a currriculum on “disaster reportage” for journalism schools in India. She has also contributed a chapter on Media and Disasters for a forthcoming book.

Patralekha Chatterjee is a  globally-acclaimed author,  journalist and  photographer.   She has worked  and/or contributed to some of the best-known and respected names in the world media.

She  won a scholarship which financially assisted her to report from Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the fall of The Berlin Wall, tracking everyday life  of  citizens and  foreigners in the new democracies. She was the only Indian journalist who travelled to Russia on her own initiative immediately after the putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev. Her reports  from Moscow and her interview with Grigory Yavlinsky, Russian economist, politician and then a close associate of Gorbachev, was carried in The Economic Times (where she worked in the early ’90s). Patralekha   has interviewed   world leaders including Rajiv Gandhi, India’s former Prime Minister (shortly before he was assassinated in May 1991) and  The Dalai Lama.

A  partial list of publications and websites worldwide  which have carried her articles and photographs include    Liberation (Paris), Panos (UK), The New Internationalist (UK), The Guardian (UK), Chicago Tribune (USA), The Christian Science Monitor (USA), (USA), The Urban Age (a quarterly magazine brought out  by The World Bank Group) and Habitat Debate (publication of the UN-HABITAT, ) Khaleej Times (UAE), The Economic Times (India), Sunday (India), The Asian Age (India), Deccan Chronicle (India), Mainstream (India), Hindustan Times (India), Indo-Asian News Service (India) and Inter Press Service (International).

She has  a particular interest  in  public health and its links with politics, economics,  technology, culture, society  and international affairs. Her reports about public health challenges confronting Haiti, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Maldives, and India have been published in The Lancet, one of the most prestigeous and influential journals dealing with global health issues, and are cited worldwide in academic and other publications. She also writes  regularly for The Bulletin of the World Health Organization (Geneva)  and contributes opinion and op-ed pieces  to major English language Indian newspapers.

In a career spanning more than two decades,  Patralekha has reported  the  crests and troughs in the unfolding story of  modern India, focusing on its politics, economics, art, culture and society for Indian and international readers.  As a writer, her interest lies in the people and communities living on the margins in towns and villages across India,  the developing world as well  as  industrialised countries.  She has lived and reported from refugee camps across South Asia, focusing  on the condition of Tamil refugees, Tibetan refugees, Chakma refugees and  displaced populations in Kashmir. She has also chronicled the lot of   migrants and refugees in Europe .

Patralekha  has a column in three major English-language, multi-edition newspapers. Her column for the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) takes a satirical look at  “development”. It appears every alternate week.  “Dev  360”, her fortnightly column in The Asian Age and Deccan  Chronicle (whose combined circulation is close to 1.4 million)  takes a  hard look at the issues shaping   India  and other emerging economies as they strive to seek a balance between growth and inclusive development.

Patralekha  has extensive experience  investigating community-level innovations  in India and other developing countries and  has taught  health journalism to post-graduate students at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (2008 – 2009). She has also conducted workshops for visiting African journalists  and been a media trainer for The Huairou  Commission, a US-headquartered NGO  working with grassroots women’s organisations around the world.

Patralekha has won numerous national and international awards and honours. A few are listed  below.

In 1987, she won the Media India award for best story on human rights ( her reportage on communal riots in Meerut, published in Sunday, then India’s leading news and current affairs magazine).

She  was the only South Asian to be selected for The Journalistes in Europe Programme (1989 –’90) and won a fellowship from the French government to report  from Western Europe and the new democracies in Eastern Europe during this period.

From 1994 to 1996,  she contributed a series of stories about the changing lives of women in Europe and Asia for Women’s Feature Service, an international wire service catering to media outlets across the world.

She is  a Fellow of The Salzburg Seminar ( Session 378, The Entrepreneurial City, 13 June – 20 June 2000).

In 2008,  she  won the Media 21 Global Journalism Fellowship from Info-Sud ( a Swiss NGO) which led  to a field trip to the Caribbean island of Haiti and a report on the challenges in accessing health care in the conflict-scarred country, the poorest in the Americas,  in The Lancet;  was one of the 8 journalists from across the world to win an award from the World Federation of Science Journalists to attend the Eco Health 2008 conference at Merida, Mexico;  and was selected as a local expert in India to  peer review The Global Integrity Report 2008.

In 2009 , she won a media fellowship from the US-based  National  Press Foundation to take part in a Journalist to Journalist training programme on HIV and AIDS in  Cape Town, South  Africa,  and to attend the annual International AIDS Society conference (IAS 2009) in that city; also nominated as one of the members of the Communication Experts Network formed by the Global Health Workforce Alliance ( Geneva).

Patralekha’s expertise and understanding of development issues has led to international assignments   with the United  Nations.   She has contributed  photo-essays   to the UNICEF web site,  authored  books and monographs for  several UN agencies on issues  ranging from maternal and child mortality,  infrastructure projects and resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced populations,  HIV and women’s inheritance rights to best  practices in   urban governance ( A full list is available on request)

Her reports and opinion pieces have also appeared in specialised journals such as Development Asia, a flagship publication of The Asian Development Bank, Habitat Debate, published by UN-HABITAT and The Urban Age, a quarterly formerly brought out by The World Bank.

The  audio-visual media is a new interest. In 2008,  she co-directed a 23-minute documentary film on migrants and HIV for Tele Quebec .This was based on her earlier reportage about  a Canadian-funded initiative to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS among migrants in the desert state of Rajasthan.   Patralekha’s stories and photographs of AIDS orphans in India were  published in  the book “Hopes Alive, Surviving AIDS and Despair” brought out by FXB India Suraksha, the India affiliate of FXB International, a Geneva-based  NGO working for AIDS orphans and other children at risk around the  world. The book was released by Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen in Kolkata(February 25, 2009)  and by Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari in Delhi (March 2, 2009).

Patralekha contributed a chapter to  ‘Environment, Exotic Diseases,the Media: Emerging Issues’ in the  The Green Pen, a  collection of essays by some of the most prominent environmental journalists in India and South Asia.  ( SAGE  Publishers, January  2010)

Patralekha was educated in Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Oxford and Paris. She speaks English, French, Hindi and Bengali (mother tongue).  Currently, she is  based in Delhi!/patralekha2011


2 thoughts on “A few memorable moments

  1. I am really impressed (HONEST CONFESSION).

    Pl respond if you remember / recognise me. I am on Facebook.

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