India | Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation Fellow | Host: Minneapolis Star Tribune
From a modest upbringing in the Kashmir Valley, Gulam Jeelani has distinguished himself in his work as a Special Correspondent for Hindustan Times in New Delhi. As a member of the newspaper’s national affairs team, he has covered state elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat, and politics under the ruling party. He has also coordinated teams of reporters, editors and photojournalists for the newspaper and is passionate about development and socio-economic issues in New Delhi.
In the first three years of studying in [university], I developed an urge to express myself and try to be an active participant for social change,” Jeelani wrote. “I was also overwhelmed to see poor Muslim students from far off places such as Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, make full use of the university and end up becoming academicians, doctors, engineers and bureaucrats.”
Jeelani takes his political coverage to a new level. He wrote a series of stories tracking the population of people living alongside the river beds in election-bound Uttar Pradesh, to see
if the deteriorating condition of the rivers posed a problem at the polls. He also spent a day hitchhiking through Punjab to understand the elections from the eyes of truck drivers in the north Indian state.
“As someone with an interest in politics and empathy for victims of conflict and other kinds of violence, I wish to move ahead in life and feed my urge to express myself and be part of the change by telling stories,” Jeelani wrote.
Jeelani is the Frank Islam & Debbie Driesman Foundation Fellow and he is working at the Minneapolis Star Tribune during the fellowship.