Life in an Indian Village
Letters from Jitvapur
1: " The Rhythm of the Days"
Indian villages have a rhythm all their own. In Jitvapur, where there is still almost no electricity, that rhythm is determined by day and night. Women and men rise before dawn, wash, cook, or go to the Kali temple to pray. They then leave for their respective work- the men to the fields, the saw mill, the brick factory, or the nearby town of Madhubani; the women to gather firewood, fetch water, make cow-dung patties for cooking fuel, and then, in their turn, to the fields. Evening comes swiftly. The acrid bluish smoke of cow-dung fires, the cattle returning to the family compound, a meal and then talk around the fire, or a festival celebration of one of the hundreds of gods and goddesses the villagers worship. (15:00 minutes)
2: "Should Girls Go To School?"
In much of India, girls now receive the same schooling as boys. But that doesn't mean society considers the two sexes equal: far from it! In traditional villages like Jitvapur many girls don't even get that far. Their parents consider education for girls a waste of time. They want them to graze the family buffalo or help gather wood and water. Divas and Chandai are torn between the weight of tradition and their consciences which tell them girls should be made to go to school. They also cannot make up their minds whether to marry their girls off before puberty, as tradition demands, or to let them choose when they can become adult. If they choose the latter they run the risk of becoming societal outcasts. (13:00 minutes)