Nidhi Suresh is an Indian journalist at ‘Newslaundry,’ an Indian media company which provides news of corporate and government interests from different parts of the country. Nidhi focuses on gender equality, crimes, human rights and conflict, and political issues in the North Indian states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Nidhi Suresh was born on Tuesday, 7 February 1995 (age 27 years; as of 2022) in India. She studied at St. Francis High School in Kerala.
Picture of Nidhi in the school uniform
In 2013, Nidhi pursued a Diploma in Movement Arts and Mixed Media, Dance at Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Nidhi with her group at Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts in Bengaluru, Karnataka
Later, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree (2014-2017) in Communication and Media Studies at Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru. She earned a master’s degree (2018-2019) with an 8.6 grade in Conflict Studies and Human rights from Utrecht University, a public research university in Utrecht, Netherlands. While pursuing her master’s degree, she worked on a thesis titled “(Re)Imagining Azadi — How do young Kashmiri Muslim women in Srinagar discursively articulate their idea of Azadi (freedom) in the period after Burhan Wani’s killing in 2016?” She does not belong to a journalism background but still opted for this career with the thought of becoming a conflict correspondent or a reporter of geopolitical conflicts. According to Nidhi, she didn’t think of being a journalist before her graduation. She shared her experience when she entered the profession of journalism unplanned. She wrote,
I always wanted to write and to tell stories, but I had never really thought of journalism as a career until I was in my final year of college. I think the biggest challenge for me is to ensure that I keep my sense of outrage intact. As a young journalist, I’ve often been advised by seniors that to survive in this profession, it is important to grow “thick skin”, to become a little desensitized and removed. Although I believe the day I become desensitised is the day I must simply stop reporting. I find it that to tell a sensitive story, it is most important to first be a sensitive person. But to wake up and ensure to be outraged but not merely in rage, is a constant challenge.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Nidhi Suresh belongs to a Malayalee family in Kerala.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about her parents and siblings.
Nidhi Suresh with her parents
Nidhi with her grandmother
Nidhi Suresh follows Hinduism.
In 2017, she went to Kashmir where she worked for the first time as a reporter for three months with a local newspaper ‘Kashmir Observer’ which provides news about Kashmir. In May 2017, she shifted to ‘Newslaundry,’ an independent news media company in India where she worked as a Kashmir Correspondent to cover militancy, military, securitization, policy, and gender-related issues in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. According to Nidhi, she took a break in between to pursue her master’s degree. In May 2019, she joined ‘Quill Foundation’ in New Delhi where she worked for a year; Quill Foundation is an organisation which is engaged in work with a focus on substantive issues like justice, equity, and human rights faced by underprivileged people. In August 2020, Nidhi rejoined ‘Newslaundry’ in New Delhi and worked as a news reporter.
One of the prime interviews by Nidhi Suresh from Kashmir is that of a woman Tabassum Guru, the wife of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru who was handed three life sentences and a double death sentence for his involvement as one of the minds behind the attack. According to Tabassum, it was difficult for her to accept the loss and grief of her husband just like any other woman who had lost her partner. She didn’t disprove the fact of Afzal’s involvement in the attack which she suspected but didn’t try to confront and stop him. Tabassum said,
I won’t lie. I suspected, but I never checked, asked or stopped him.”
Tabassum Guru (Image captured by Nidhi Suresh)
Nidhi Suresh’s reports are about the distressing and serious issues like gender equality, crimes, etc., existing in India. One of such ground reports of her is that of ‘Hathras,’ a case about the gang rape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman by four upper caste men in Chanda village of Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh, India. The incident took place on 14 September 2020. Nidhi referred to the victim as Asha in the reports; Asha died on 29 September 2020. The accused Sandeep Thakur, Ravi Thakur, Ramu Thakur, and Luvkush Thakur were arrested by the officials. Nidhi followed up on this case for months to analyse the current situation of the victim’s family in Hathras and to get an update on the case. While talking about the incident, Asha’s mother said,
I don’t go that side anymore unless I am asked to reconstruct the day of her rape.”
Asha’s family – image captured by Nidhi Suresh
Nidhi Suresh actively covered the farmers’ protest at the Tikri border and Singhu border which triggered the violence at Red Fort by the group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana. The protest was against the three farm bills passed by the Indian Parliament in 2020; the protest started on 9 February 2020 and continued till 11 December 2021. She has written reports related to all the events that happened during the farmers’ protest be it about Ranjit Singh, 22, from Kajampur, a village in Nawanshahr district of Punjab who was arrested and sent to Tihar jail as he was accused of attempting to murder following the Singhu border violence. Nidhi shared her experience when she was capturing the details of the protest at the borders. Nidhi disclosed many things from the lens of the media which she has shared on her social media. She wrote,
It was also during the farmer protests that we realised the importance of the media beat.”
Reportedly, Nidhi Suresh was obstructed by the police officials, a video of which went viral; the incident was opposed by the Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ), an organisation which supports female journalists around the globe.
Picture of Farmers from Tikri border on November 2021 during the protest (captured by Nidhi Suresh)
India’s Rape Scandal
Nidhi Suresh has been one of the investigators of a documentary by Ramita Navai, an award-winning British Iranian investigative journalist, documentary maker, and author who has investigated large numbers of stories about sexual violence around the world. The documentary turns every chapter of covered-up rape cases particularly that by personalities in power. The documentary covers the stories of two teenage girls, Jaya, who was raped by a positioned member of the BJP Kuldeep Singh Sengar, and Manisha, a 19-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh, India who died in a hospital a week after the gang rape and her parents refused to attend her cremation. The cases are known as the ‘Unnao rape case’ and ‘Hathras case‘ respectively. In 2021, in an interview, Ramita Navai shared her thoughts about the escalation of sexual offences after she had a word with some journalists in India about the censoring of rape cases in the country by the government. She said,
I spoke to so many journalists who have been threatened over covering stories about rape. This is where it gets interesting: why would the government want to censor rape stories? The number of rapes under Modi’s rule have actually increased since his pledge – that’s why they try to shut down these stories before they become public.”
In 2021, in an interview, Ramita expressed the aim of making this documentary and refer to it as a documentary with a perspective of bringing change in the system and justice to the victims. She said,
It’s about the systemic coverup in this country. I want people to want serious change and to scrutinise after watching it. People need to be angry, shout about it and get justice for these women.”
The documentary was nominated for a Rose d’Or Award and titled one of the top 10 television programmes of 2021 by ‘The Observer,’ a Sunday newspaper which is published in Britain.
Picture of Nidhi Suresh (left) and Ramita Navai (right) from the making of ‘India’s Rape Scandal’
Nidhi Suresh has been an arts and culture intern at Dharamshala International Film Festival (2016) and Lokhit Pashu – Palak Sansthan (2015). She has been associated with an Indian news media company ‘NDTV’ as an intern in politics and at ‘NDTV Good Times’ in arts and culture.
Reportedly, Nidhi Suresh was booked by UP police on a complaint by News18 journalist Deep Srivatsava for an allegedly defamatory post. According to the media, the FIR was registered under Sections 500 (punishment for defamation) and 501 (printing and engraving any matter that is known to be defamatory) of the Indian Penal Code by Sadar Bazar police in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh for a tweet shared by Nidhi. As per media, the FIR was registered after a case reported by Nidhi Suresh about a Hindu woman from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who converted to Islam and adopted the name, Ayesha Alvi. The report by Nidhi contained the allegations of Ayesha Alvi that she was harassed by the media for her decision to accept Islam referring to which she filed a petition to the Delhi High Court in which she stated that she has been receiving threatening calls from a number. The petition read,
The first mobile call that I received was from 063******** and when he came he threatened that he will publish the news about my conversion and that I would get arrested and he demanded money from me and when we denied he threatened again. Thereafter he forcefully took 20 thousand rupees from us.”
When Nidhi tried to contact the person, the call recipient identified himself as Deep Srivatsava, a reporter at News18; however, Deep refused the allegations of receiving extorted money from Ayesha Alvi.
- Beverage(s): Chai and filter coffee
- She also goes by the name Motte.
- Nidhi likes to wear her mother’s sarees since her childhood.
- According to Nidhi, she is guided by the works of Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian investigative journalist, essayist and oral historian who writes in Russian.
- In an interview in 2021, she shared the issues she has to face because of the language barriers while ground reporting. She learned the Hindi language from her mother when she was younger and used to dance to Bollywood songs which her mother used to translate for her.
- Nidhi is fluent in Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam languages.
- According to her, she had to go to therapy in 2021 as she was so much affected by her profession. While referring to her experience, she said,
Firstly, I am under no delusion that I can find a way for the profession to not affect me. It affects me quite deeply and to work efficiently, I think it is important to be affected to certain extent. It shows you care. But I also think it is important to be a sustainable and eco friendly journalist. Due to the erratic and emotionally draining nature of the profession, a lot of journalists tend to have disruptive personal lives. I find that damaging not just to oneself but also to your immediate ecosystem of people. To me that lifestyle is neither sustainable for oneself as a professional nor is it fair to your circle of loved ones. For the last one year, I have been regularly going for therapy. Apart from that I try to be diligent about mundane but important habits like working out regularly, paying attention to my food, making time to do fun things and to ensure that I am not constantly drowning in my own thoughts.”
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