Bhandara Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
So, I am an architecture student. No wonder most of my blogs/journals/reviews start off abruptly with architecture somewhere. Here comes another.
A large part of the population of India lives in the villages. Argriculture is the prime occupation of the country.
But it is indeed tragic, that an Indian farmer lives in the most pitiable condition. Any traveller to India must definitely visit an Indian village; infact so many of us Indians even haven't ever been to one.
My first visit to a village was with my aunt (she was a doctor and it is necessary for every doctor in India to serve a village for a couple of years for free). I was quite young then, and I was one of those fortunate Indian children who were sent to esteemed english-medium schools in India where the students try in every way to simulate kids from American teenage movies.
My uncle was a cardiologist and he would tend to people who suffered from snake bites (India being home to the deadliest snakes). The villagers had the tenacity to catch hold of the snakes after a snake bite and bring it to the doctor for him to identify it! I was horrified to behold this one man standing on the door of our guest house holding a large king cobra in one hand and the other hand holding up his dhoti, revealing the bleeding part of his leg where the snake brutally bit him.
My first visit is only a fading memory now. Too bad I couldn't solidify it back then.
But anyway, memories came back when my fourth year of architecture started and we had a rural rehabilitation project for design. We, the students after three years of attempting to design high-rise buildings, glamorous shopping malls, robust bungalows, chose to acknowledge the rural scenario of India. For this, we delved deep into the various aspects of 3 villages that we had identified. We conducted various types of surveys.
On the first day, we set off separately to our concerned villages in buses. It was rainy, and view from the bus window was spectacular. The country side was as if out of a book; green, clean, a gust of wind making the crops sway, farmers working diligently on their respective farms, and cattle ploughing through the muddy fields.
On our arrival, a big mob gathered almost immediately, discussing amongst themselves, probably mistaking us to be from the government survey department. From this, we inferred that the prime assembly area to each village was very much right at the entrance to it, because of security reasons, and also because the entrance had immediate accessibility.
We further split into smaller groups of two, to carry out the surveys.
We acquainted ourselves with the directions of the village, and also with some seemingly friendly villagers. The next day, the second day, we went looking for the apparently friendly, and asked them to lead us to their families to conduct the very extensive household surveys. We went to at least 30 families, most of them making us feel very welcome. Some even offered us tea, while some posed for several pictures.
A lot of them expressed their grievance against the government and its policies, how the government gave them false consolation, blithely unaware of the hapless condition of the people. The rehabilitation that they were promised was taking ages to get into effect, their livelihood jeopardized due to the dam on the river Wainganga, and that the government concession in the form of money just wasn’t adequate.
From certain surveys, we learnt that their dream house doesn’t consist of massive living rooms and bedrooms and kitchens, but of very simple facilities, like an attached toilet, a cow shed, a little porch to provide relief from the harsh sun, windows looking out on the roads so they know what’s happening in the rest of the village.
When we asked them why do they think the government is so insensitive towards them, a girl with deep set eyes and neatly braided hair replied 'We aren't people, we're poor'.