"Life in an Indian Village" records ten days in the daily lives of the villagers of Jitvapur in the northern Indian state of Bihar. These are poor people at the mercy of Nature and Human forces they cannot control. Their huts are destroyed every few years by flood waters sweeping down from the Himalayas, the direct result of mindless deforestation in Nepal and India. If the rice or wheat crop is lost, many adults and children simply go without food.

"Letters From Jitvapur" are extracted from "Life in an Indian Village."
They are a series of 8 radio reports on daily life in the village of Jitvapur, Bihar and were oriiiginally broadcast by NPR's Weekend Edition-Sunday in 1992-1993.


Tradition, caste rigidities and religion are usually cited as obstacles to development. It's quite clear that the villagers of Jitvapur are extremely conservative; but it's less clear that these are direct obstacles. The villagers seem aware that caste rigidities do more harm than good and that these must be set aside if they are to improve their lives.

Education and literacy are often assumed to be answers to rural under-development. Certainly, the young in Jihrapur seem ready to accept the implications of education and seek work outside the village. In the United States we consider such mobility as a positive indicator. But in many other societies, social and economic mobility can be destabilizing.

The 4 one hour radio tapes are accompanied by an illustrated curriculum for use at the High School and College level. The curriculum, written by Marilyn Turkovich, has been designed so that as little as one class-period, or as much as two to four weeks of class time, can be spent on the material.

Although the village in question is in India and therefore has many characteristics peculiar only to India, it also stands for villages all over the developing world. The teacher and the student can therefore approach it on two levels: the specific (Indian) and the universal (Third World).

Life in an Indian Village


1: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

2: Monday & Tuesday

3: Wednesday & Thursday

4: Saturday & Sunday

Letters from Jitvapur

Letter 1 - 2

Letter 3 - 4

Letter 5 - 6

Letter 7 - 8

Producer's Notes


© 2002 - 2012, Independent Broadcasting Associates, Inc
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use