Life in an Indian Village
Letters from Jitvapur
7. "Abdul Malik and the Muslim Weavers"
Although the pace of change is accelerating in Jitvapur, the village is still basically conservative and traditional, nowhere more so than among the Muslim weavers who have been weaving dhurries or carpets on foot-powered looms for as long as anyone can remember. Abdul Malik, one of the weavers, fears progress because it means change, and change means risk and insecurity. So he prefers to let the carpet seller in Madhubani exploit him and to remain poor rather than invest in an electric loom that could double his income, but also bring his relationship with the carpet seller to a head. (11:15 minutes)
8: "Trying to go Straight in Rayhyam"
Most people in Jitvapur and the surrounding villages don't own land. For income and food they depend on seasonal work on other people's land. But if the harvest fails or they lose their job they have no skills to fall back on and must either live off their meager savings, or starve. In the nearby village of Rayhyam, the local development officer is trying to break the vicious cycle and reform a bunch of petty thieves by teaching them to weave dhurries or rugs, thereby turning criminals into model capitalists. But the odds are against him. (11:15 minutes)