photo of Indian woman Garwhal and Kumaon
India glossary








mason/carpenter/ farmer


Kumali village, Henval valley, Tehri Garhwal


early 1994



Section 1
How many children do you have?
Two sons. There were three but the eldest one died. Now there are only two. The eldest one was working in the electricity department; he died there. He was posted in Jalandhar, he died there. He left two sons behind. The second son has three sons and the youngest one has one son.

How many members in all are there in the family?
At present there are twelve: six grandsons; one granddaughter; two sons; we two - myself and my wife; and one daughter-in-law. We have sent away one of the two daughters-in-law.

You told me that your father migrated from...?
Yes, my father came to settle here from Patuli, a village on the other side of Tehri.

Then you must have had to face many difficulties?
Yes, indeed! We suffered many pangs. In the beginning I was not in favour of getting married. But I was too young to insist on having my way. I thought, what would be the benefit of getting married if I could do nothing to feed my family? Suppose my sons walk in my footsteps then what would be the benefit of getting married? When my own life is good for nothing then theirs would be worse than mine, it is certain. Later when I learnt masonry work and carpentry, I built a house to live in and there was a little improvement in my status.
Section 2
Your son who died in Jalandhar, did he get a pension?
His pension was granted but for four years we couldn't go to Punjab.

When did your son die?
About eight or nine years ago. When we went there and informed the department that we could not come, due to the fear of terrorists, the employees of the department got the papers of the pension ready. But I made a mistake by depositing the pension pattah (papers) with them thinking that they would return it in future. But till now they have not responded to our letter. We are fools. We have no wisdom. A kind fellow helped me and my daughter-in-law. The man is a Punjabi. Such kind-hearted people do still live in the world.

Your family is the only family of your caste in this village. How do others co-operate with you?
I get full cooperation. The villagers helped me in all needs and shared my woes and efforts. These very villagers are our brothers. We had left our old village and now we have no connection with them.

How much land do you possess?
The land is too much, but who cultivates it? I couldn't rearrange the marriage of the younger son. The earlier one was broken. The daughter-in-law who left us gave birth to a son.

In your time you must have managed your expenditure through the earnings from agriculture?
Yes, I have managed it through agricultural income.

Have your sons got employed?
No employment. The younger one works as a mason. He is educated up to high school. And the next one up to the 9th class. Both the sons I educated by doing hard labour. There were once two daughters-in-law. But now there is only one. The remaining one also got a separation and now lives separately.

Why do your son and daughter-in-law live separately?
They are not under our control. I had handed over mules to him. In the beginning there were three mules, then I gave one more, but he could not manage even that job. We had kept two servants but he couldn't earn even enough to pay their salaries. Then we had to pay their salaries after selling away the mules. Whatever he earned throughout mules he spent on wine. When he was a drunkard we couldn't keep him under our control, hence the separation.

It means your old wife manages all the domestic work now?
Yes, the old lady does it all. Who is there to do it other than the old lady? Unless we arrange the marriage of the younger son, the old woman has to manage all the work. This woman was stupid from the very beginning because as soon as the elder son got married, the old woman left all the household work altogether. And when the second son got married the lady left all other domestic work. But we lost two daughters-in- law for some reason.
Section 3
Why did you turn away your daughter-in-law? Was it due to the caste system or for some other reason?
Oh no, we had arranged the marriage after finding a suitable caste match. But her character was suspect.

Do you get sufficient food grains from the land for the whole year?
We cannot get sufficient food from farming because nobody pays attention to it.

How many animals do you have?
Two bullocks and a buffalo.

There must have been more in the past?
In the past there were two buffaloes, two big bullocks and three mules. Who rears livestock now? The cattle sheds are now empty. My younger son also repairs watches and radios. He earns Rs.70 or 20 per day from masonry work.

Do you go to work as a mason in your village or your vicinity?
Yes, I do go wherever they ask me.

How was and is the matter of cooperation among the villagers in the village in the old days and in recent days?
There was affection and love. People were united. If anybody's field remained unploughed, any villager would do it. Nothing was asked in exchange for this. Today no one comes, even on wage, because everyone has become sahibs (people of importance). They think this job is below their status. Recently one of our fellow villagers did not have bullocks, and he was busy in the management of his son's marriage. His fields are still uncultivated. But none thought it their duty to plough his fields. Nobody co-operates now even in the management of marriage of parties.

How did the work of a widow or a helpless person get done in the past?
There was a good system in those days. Everybody's work got completed in the village. In those days they used to plough the fields of widows with their own bullocks and they did it thinking it to be their own duty. If the widow did some work in exchange of this service the better. If not, they did not bother about it. Today if one does some work for others they want this obligation to be remembered and highlighted always. Added to this, they also insult. To some extent the bygone time was better. Once we had a field which remained unploughed. A man took his bullocks there and began to plough the field. He had ploughed only half of the field when it started raining heavily. But he did not stop ploughing even in that heavy rain. Such was the feeling of cooperation in those days.

Why there is a great change in the new generation's feeling towards cooperation?
The feelings have changed. Nowadays even a servant cleaning pots in a hotel is living in a grand manner decked with a fine suit and boots. Then why would they work in a village? Boys have even stopped carrying water containers.
Section 4
What could be the reason behind this change of feeling in the new generation?
This change came in the new generation about 20 to 25 years ago and is increasing day by day. The women used to wear ghagra (long flared skirts) and angri (warm blouses) and not saris. Male members wore mirzai (long coat), churidar pyjama (tight long pyjama), and used turbans on their heads. Now all these are abandoned. This change in people has become evident through this change in dresses.

Did you weave those clothes yourselves?
No, we bought them from the market. They were all cotton. We used to wear dhotis (cotton cloths) while taking our meals. We did not use caps during that period. Now they don't take off their shoes, what to say about the cap? Such is the change taking place. In those good old days no one used to enter another's kitchen. Now they enter with their shoes on. Now we have begun to eat the food cooked by the person belonging to a lower caste. In those days no one would eat food cooked by the woman who is dughariya (a woman who has left her first husband and begun to live with another). Today we eat food which is cooked by an outcaste.

Did village panchayats (village councils) exist?
Yes, there were panchayats. With the dawn of independence the panchayats were flourishing. The meetings were held every month but now there is no meeting, even in a year.

Do members of the panchayat get together?
They get together if there is some dispute to be settled. They settle the dispute after discussion among them.

Who arranges the necessary utensils for the panchayat?
Yes, the arrangements like water management and panchayati utensils are made by the panchayat. There were nyaya panchayats (village court of justice) in every patti (group of villages). But now there are none of these in existence.

Do the village disputes get settled in the village?
Yes, they are settled in the village.

What is the difference between the panchayats of modern times and those of the old days?
No, no, there is no difference at all. The members of the panchayat have to favour justice and punish the culprit. For a mistake the accused is let go after begging pardon, and for a crime he has to pay the penalty.

Do all the families of the village get the necessary food grains from their fields?
No, no, we don't get sufficient food from the farming for the whole year. It is hard to get even enough for six months. There are only about two to four families who get enough to last for the year from farming.

What job other than the farming you do?
We work as labourers. Some go out of the village and others work within.
Section 5
Is the number of government employees greater than that of the private workers in the village?
There is only one government employee in the village, and four people get pensions. There is no one in government service among the new generation.

What is the water management system in the village?
There are two pipelines in the village. One planned by block development and the other belongs to the Water Management Corporation. The line belonging to the corporation is lying useless due to the bad work done by the contractor. The water only runs for four days through that pipeline. The water supply from the other line belongs to block development.

What was the water management situation before the government effort?
Then we used to carry water from the water source that is beside the village. The quantity of water was less, so sometimes we had to bring water in the night.

It means the water problem existed!
Yes, it existed. There was a shortage of water from the beginning.

Are the fields here irrigated or un-irrigated?
All the land in the village is un-irrigated.

What crops do you grow?
Rice, wheat, mandua, jhangora (varieties of millet), pulses like rajma (beans) are grown. If the rainfall is normal the crop is good. We get nothing if the rain fails.

Does the village possess its own forest?
Yes, we have one.

What is the difference between the jungles (forests) of the past and jungles existing today?
There were innumerable trees in the past. We did get timber to fulfil our demands. But there are no trees now so how can we get any now? Now we have to buy timber even for making a doorframe. I myself purchased wood for a door and a window frame. Today pradhans (heads of panchayat), the forest guard and the forester have united. The person who has approached them gets timber but the needy person remains timberless because he does not possess bribes and the right approach.

Does the forest belong to the government or to civil-soyam (civil revenue land, which people have a right to use)?
The forest belongs to the government. The forest near the village is also under the forest department. There is no civil forest belonging to the village.

Was the forest thick in the past?
Yes, the forest was very thick. Now the forest has been cut down. As proof you can see the rafters of sandan (a deciduous hardwood) wood used in every house. Now only chir pine trees are left in the forest.
Section 6
Have the chir pine trees been in existence since the very beginning or planted later?
The chir pine trees are in existence since the very beginning. There is a vast chir pine forest here.

Do the villagers get their lawful share from the forest?
When four or five applications reach the pradhan he has them granted by the forest department. But this grant fails to reach the needy in time. Only one tree is allowed for the village in one year. Whoever bribes them gets more wood.

From where did you come to settle down here?
This village has been in existence since way back. Some of our ancestors might have come here to settle down. But I don't have accurate knowledge about this matter.

To what caste do the people of this village belong?
Here everyone belongs to the Rajput caste. All are Negis. No Brahmins and Harijans live in this village.

Where do the blacksmiths, goldsmith, tailors and cobbler live?
A blacksmith who lived in another village has passed away last year. We get our tools repaired by the blacksmiths belonging to the other villages. And the tailor and Drumbeater (a particular caste) of our village live in another village. There are no other castes here.

Do the shoemakers live in the village?
No, from the beginning we used to purchase shoes from outside the village.

Where do you go to get ornaments made?
In the past people used to go to the goldsmith's village (villages Quili and Lavfor) when getting their ornaments made. But now we go to the market for this. The goldsmiths belonging to Lava village used to come to our village for making ornaments in the past.

Did the Braziers use to come to this village?
Yes, Tamtas (a particular caste of Braziers) used to visit this village. They came from Pauri Garhwal to this area for a few months. Even Tamtas do not live in our village. The Tamtas from Pauri still come here.

Do all the villagers rear cattle?
Yes, what other thing can we do, otherwise? Now there are no sheep but there are goats. In the past every family kept four or six buffaloes, plus bullocks and goats. But now they keep one buffalo, two bullocks at most. And if they have manpower they rear goats too. In the past we used to live, for four months of the rainy season, in the forest far away from the village along with the cattle.
Section 7
Was the production of milk and ghee (clarified butter) very large?
Yes it was very large. Now we have hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of ghee. Now if there is milk in some home, they take it to the shop to sell it there. In our time no one used to sell milk and ghee. We used to eat it by ourselves. If there happened to be a guest, he was fed with it lavishly. I bought four kilograms of ghee for fifteen rupees only - nearly 35 years ago. My father told me that they used to put butter on the bed made by salmu grass, when the pots got filled up to the brim during their stay in channis (huts for shelter during grazing season). Then the butter was taken to the village home. They used to go with their cattle to live in the forest huts from May to August. In August they returned home with their cattle. Then they used to melt that butter to prepare ghee.

How was that ghee sold?
If it sold well and good, if not, the family members ate it. Then the people paid more attention to their diet. Once my father ate up 8 kg of ghee in only four days. Once we were staying in the seasonal hut built at Khari. We two brothers were still small and we had one sister. We had a pot filled with 3 kg of butter. We emptied the pot within three days. Then we were badly down with dysentery [This incident happened 60 years ago]. In the past we had no observances of diet. In old days people used to go to work after eating thick breads made from mandua and drinking 4 or 5 kgs of whey. They had great strength but the boys of modern times have no strength at all. I still remember that once while I was working as a mason on a bridge, a man belonging to our village named Kumali used to eat food enough for four men and emptied a nine kilo whey pot.

Are the deities worshipped collectively in the village?
Deities like Durga, Nagrajah, Narasingh, Bhairav and Satya Narayan are worshipped. Nine days worship is celebrated. There is no temple made by the village panchayat. Kunjapuri is the only temple here at some distance.

Well, does it mean that Kunjapuri is the only deity of this whole area?
Yes. All the people of this area visit the temple every six months. Besides this others may go there wherever they find time.

In the past they might have killed goats and male buffaloes to offer as a sacrifice to the deity Kunjapuri?
Yes, it was in fashion. But now the goddess is worshipped with sriphal (coconut) only.

Since when did they stop killing male buffaloes?
Since 30 years ago. For some time a male goat was reared for some time and then killed. But now this practice has ceased too.

Was this practice stopped by somebody else?
No not a particular person. People stopped it themselves. Though once a saint came who advocated against cattle killing.

Could you remember the saint? Was it Swami Manmathan?
I don't know who it was. But he told us that cattle killing should be stopped. No, it was not Swami Manmathan. Afterwards the saint went to Surkanda. Cattle-killing was not in practice in Surkanda from the very beginning.
Section 8
So there was no cattle killing in Surkanda from the beginning?
So it was. This cattle killing was in practice only in two places, Kunjapuri and Chandravadani. Now it has been stopped in these two places. Perhaps it is still in practice in Chandravadani. They say that there are 360 stairs. The person whose pilgrimage was accepted by the goddess enabled the male buffalo of that party to walk up all these 360 stairs. And those whose worship was not accepted, their buffalo could not climb even the first stair.
[Animal sacrifice has actually also been stopped in Chandravadani temple]

Were there artisans in your village in the past?
No shoemakers and weavers lived in our village.

Was there no woollen work done in this village?
No. Some used to knit pullovers but no weaving was done here.

From where did the people of the past get their cloth woven?
They purchased it from the market. We too purchase it from the market.

The masonry work you learnt, was it taught to you by someone else?
No, I learnt it on my own, through my own hands and mind.

Is there a story behind the learning of masonry work?
The story has been narrated already in the beginning. When I had learnt the job they said that I had learnt it from Dehra Dun. In the beginning I built my one storey house. Then all the villages began to call me for their houses. I learnt it by myself.

What is the difference between the work done by you and that of the younger generation? Does the new generation accept the old traditions?
The new generation has to obey their predecessors. If the successors do not follow the predecessors, then the predecessors would feel insulted.

Do the people of the modern generation escape from the village?
Yes, some live out of the village.

Has anybody else settled outside this village?
No, there is no such person who has migrated outside.

What sort of medicine did they use in the past if someone got ill?
There is no physician here in this village. But one Gaur Datt from Kani village was the physician of this area. Now he has passed away. He had taught his art to his son but he died too. Now there is no one left behind. Now there are only modern doctors.

What did you use to do if your cattle got ill?
There is one hospital for animals at Fakot.
Section 9
I want to know about the old days. What did you do then?
In those days wild roots and plants were used and sometimes they used coconut shell ash and the leaves of a local plant called China tree. They ground all these things and made the animal swallow it.

Do people still have the knowledge of medicinal plants, which can be used as a medicine for animals?
Yes. The same as they do in the past. I bought a buffalo for Rs.2600. But those who sold it to me had hidden its disease from me. When I told them about it, they told me to return the buffalo. But it was unable to climb down the slope. I took it up a little distance and brought it back. Then I took that person who sold it to me to my home. After seeing the disease of the buffalo he reduced the price by four hundred rupees. Then we both, my wife and I kept vigil on the buffalo by turn. The buffalo got cured. Then we had enough milk to drink. When it become pregnant we began to give her local medicine and she has been completely cured and the disease has left her for good.

Do you get the deities to dance in traditional manner?
Yes, here we too sing jagars (night-long rituals during which deities are invited to speak and dance through a person). But this belongs to ancient tradition. We also celebrate ghadiyala (dance through which a deity is made to enter a human body) and we also dance a mandan (war dance) once used to warm up the soldiers by beating drums and blowing bugles.

Can you sing one or two lines for me?
No, No. I don't know it at all. These jagar are learnt only by a particular caste called Bajigars. Das, Koli and Ghadiyalga only know these songs.

Do the people belonging to Koli caste weave cloth too?
No, they don't weave. Only Rajput Kols live here.

What do most people of the village do?

Do all the families of this village get enough food grains from the farming to last the whole year?
Usually it does not suffice. If there is favourable rain then we harvest a good crop otherwise nothing grows. There are only four or five families in the village who get sufficient from the farming for the whole year. They depend on farming. Some have sufficient and others have insufficient land. The production is obtained accordingly.

Do you plant trees and keep orchards?
Yes, we have mango, walnut, guava and lemon trees here in our village.

Do you sell fruits?
No we don't have so much to sell. Each family possesses only one or two trees, not more.
Section 10
Do the women do most of the agricultural work?
Yes, men only plough the fields. The rest of the work is done by the women. Some of the men do also work in the farms where there are fewer women in the family.

What do the men do after finishing the ploughing?
If a man gets work as a labourer, he does it. Otherwise he remains without any business.

Does the shop belong to a villager or to a person living outside the village?
There is only one shopkeeper in our village. But all others belong to the nearby areas.

Where is your market?
Amsera and Khari. We have to go to Rishikesh for more things. We also need to go to Rishikesh if there is some great feast or big celebration.

Is some land in your village irrigated?
Yes, a little, near the Henwal rivulet.

How far is this irrigated land from the village?
Nearly 1.5 kms away.

Do you grow some commercial crops like potatoes and ramdana or chaulai (varieties of amaranthus)?
Very rarely. If the pest does not harm it the crop of chaulai produces good results. If the rain is good, the chaulai grows fine. Each family earns Rs.300 to 400 from selling these chillies. A little ginger, turmeric and kuchain (yam).

Do you have sufficient milk and ghee in the village?
Perhaps you are asking this question because you have got a cup of ghee with the dinner. But there is scarcity of milk and ghee. Now we use vanaspati (tinned) ghee in marriage feasts. Itís difficult now to get even one kg ghee for one hundred rupees.

Do the villagers sell away milk in the market?
Yes, whoever has milk to sell, sells it in the market.

What is the procedure for getting separation of property in your village?
If the sons consent, the father divides the property among them. But if any one of them protest against the decision, the panchayat divides it.

Does this village have anything to do with pilgrimage?
In the past people used to go on pilgrimage on foot. They had great affection among them. Now there are motors. You get into a bus at one station and get down at other. The people of our village did go on pilgrimage on foot. The first part of the road was up to Bemunda. The next one led to Rishikesh.

How far did you walk on foot?
This road you see now was made later on. 58 years ago this was up to Bemunda. I remember that I was born on the same year. My father bought 40 kilos of rice for 21 rupees only at the time. [Jeet Singh, present during this interview informed me that in those days 40 kilos of rice was available at our village for 20 rupees including mule charges.]
Section 11
Is the forest near your village open only for your village or approachable for other villages too?
No, this forest belongs to the whole area. From Chamba to Khadi, all the villages in between gather fodder and fuel wood from this forest.

Then it must be degrading rapidly?
Yes, it is natural. How can we prohibit it? It was very dense 10 to 15 years ago. But now it is nearly completely stripped. In the past it was so dense that we were afraid of lions while going to our fields, which are some way down the village. Lions used to come and devour the ploughman along with the bullocks. In those days people did not go there alone for ploughing. Such dense forests existed then, just nearby the village. Now the bushes of lantana (invasive shrub) have come up instead of trees. Now we never see a tiger or a lion.

How many villages depend on this forest?
All the nearby villages depend on it. From Ampata to Chamba, including all the 25 to 30 villages that exist in between, collect fuel and fodder from this forest.

What is its name?
Kunjani. It extends to Fakot.

Do you take your cattle out for grazing or feed them at their respective places?
Today nobody rears more cattle than they can take out for grazing. Whosoever keeps two bullocks with goats takes them out for grazing.

Did you stay during the rainy season in your grass huts?
No, we did not go.

[Jeet Singh answers here] I went. I went and stayed in the forests of Ghandiyal and Basonguarh. I could not go because when I was nine years old my father died. He used to live in the forest hut. At that time we had nearly 15 or 20 cows. But we sold all those cows when my father got ill. Then we kept only two buffalo. I have told you already that we ate butter as others eat rice.

You told me that there is mostly dry grass and leaves in the forest. Does it catch fire sometimes?
Yes, it does sometimes. But what can we do about it? People do go to quench it, but do not succeed because if the pine needles catch fire, it is not easy to put it out. The fear of the forest catching fire is high during May to June. When it starts raining the chance of catching fire doesnít occur.

Do the villages set fire [to the forests]?
No, not at all. Sometimes it breaks out all of a sudden. Sometimes a person coming or going to those villages which are situated amid the forest, sets it on fire. A burning matchstick or a beedie (local cigarette), thrown mistakenly, starts a fire. Sometimes the villager living in villages amid forests clean the forestland and set fire to make it fit for farming. It spreads further than expected. There is no question of persons from our village beginning a fire.
Section 12
Are the roots and plants which have medicinal value found in this forest?
Yes. For those who recognise them there are many. There are enough medicinal plants. But none of us in the village have the necessary knowledge of them.

What sort of wild animals dwell in this forest?
Antelopes were found in old days. But there are no antelopes now. We still can see deer, tigers, bears, wild cows and pigs, but not in plenty. Stags are still found in the forest on the other side of our village. In our forest you can only find some rabbits, porcupines and deer now.

Do people kill these wild animals?
No, we never kill them at all. In the first they used to make audas. But now we don't make audas any more.

What are audas?
A structure made for guarding the farms. They used to make a noise so that the wild animals might be driven away from the fields. Today wild animals eat up all the crops and none come out to drive them away.

Do you keep honeybees too, in the village?
Yes, in those houses which have a particular place made for them, there you may find them in a small number. Once some of the families of this village brought modern kinds of beehives. But there are none of these now. Very few people keep bees now.

Was there good production of honey in your childhood?
Yes. Not only that, we got honey at home but also we got it from the cavities of trees in the forest. Now you cannot find bees in trees.

There were movements related to forests. Did you organise any such movement here in your village?
No, not particularly in this village. But in a nearby forest - namely Adwani forest the Chipko movement was organised. Sarvodaya activists organised this when the tree felling was being done. No contractor came to our forest, nor did we start a movement. When the Chipko movement started in Adwani forest, the contract of our forest was cancelled along with Adwani forest. Then they began to collect dead and dried trees and wood. The government put a ban on green felling.

Did the people of this village organise any movement?
The Chipko movement of Adwani forest was the movement of the whole area. We also took part in it. The people of Kunjani village also went to take part in it. All the contracts of this area got cancelled.
Section 13
What is your opinion about tourism? Will it not create a bad impact on our new generation?
No, what will be the impact of it on them? It is good the people come here from outside. We feel no trouble. They come to visit our Uttarakhand. This is a holy place. If we want to visit Amarnath, what trouble would others feel? They come from a long distance to visit the shrines. All have an equal right to reach their shrines.

What do you think about the right development of the village?
If a factory is established, the boys would get employment in it, and they neednít go to the cities. For example the Tehri Dam is under construction but there most of the employees are outsiders. If the people belonging to this area got employment on it we need not serve outside our hills. Outsiders should not come here for employment because we have a great number of educated unemployed. If you visit Maneri Bhali hydel project, the factories established in Dhalu Walah - the glass factory, match factories and other factories of iron, you will find most of the workers are outsiders. If our boys were appointed there they need not go to Calcutta or Bombay. They would have saved some money which they invest in their fares. Are there no educated persons in our village? Employment should be given according to our abilities.

What do you think about the Tehri Dam, which is a mega-project?
Well, so far no one has raised a strong movement against it. They began to oppose it when a big sum was spent on it. Yes, they may reduce its size. But as it was proposed to be the biggest in Asia, it should not be so huge. It should be a smaller one. If they set small micro-hydro electricity units on Henwal rivulet we could have got electricity from it. If they produce electricity from small units it would be better. They could rear fish at other places. If the Tehri Dam gets broken, it will cause havoc up to Lucknow. Whereas those villagers who are well settled, there is no problem for them. But it is better is to reduce its size. The money they have spent on it should be utilised this way, otherwise the government never invests money from its pocket. We, the citizens have to pay the price.

Do you want to say that small hydro projects should be established?

What are your views about wine?
The government must put a ban on wine selling or at least stop smuggling of it. Ex-soldiers get three bottles. The government has opened wine shops in each market of Uttarakhand. These should be closed. Why do the ex - soldiers get wine when it is a dry area? In our Uttarakhand there are lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of ex - soldiers. They drink lakhs of bottles. There must be prohibition for all. There are some ex-soldiers who sell bottles for Rs 150 per bottle in the village. Now it is also supplied in pouches. The smugglers purchase it at the cost of Rs 12 per pouch and sell it here for Rs 30 per pouch. This wine must be banned.

What is the status education here?
Education management is not good. The primary school is 3 km away from the village. We cannot send the child to school until they are 7 or 8 years of age - 3 km up and down, it is a great trouble indeed.
Section 14
Where is the primary school situated?
It is 4 km far from this village in Chaunpa. The nursery is run by a public institution. But its condition is no better.

What do you expect from the children?
If they learn a little, they must have experience. Recently a boy of our village sent a form after getting it filled in to the GREF (General Reserve Engineer Force) at Pune. It got no response. If we had our separate province the response would have come. We are the defaulters. There is a local proverb which says that none can gather fine wool with a blunt knife. How can we make progress? We have no knowledge either.

Any incident related to your life that set a new turn in your life?
What change may occur now? Yes, there may be many incidents. Suppose I owe money, what are my means to pay off the debt? Now I will tell you an incident. Once I was under a great burden of debt. I told my wife that I wanted to sell my irrigated land. My wife asked me what would we eat if I did this. Whatever food grains we got, they came from that very field. No, the field should not be sold. Then I proposed to join GREF. Then I actually went to Roorkee to join the GREF. We were three people. One of us joined as a driver. What test would they give us? One of us was an unskilled labourer and I was a mason. They asked me to show them a certificate. They were not ready to give me a list without showing them a certificate. So I came out. Then I recalled one Mr Kundan Singh who belonged to Pauri district with whom I worked on the bridge. I thought that I would get a certificate from him, but if these people told me them that there was no vacancy, what would I do then? So I let it go. Then one Mr Darshan Singh of Jardhar Gaon happened to meet me. He told me that I had to work on a pipeline from Sura. That water reached Koti Pali and Kakar sera. I earned Rs 1900 from working on that pipeline. Some I spent in domestic needs and some I paid to the moneylender. Still the debt remained too much. Now another contractor from Pasi village called me. He had to construct buildings of three basic schools and one of the Red Cross. I worked at all places and earned Rs 2000 from there. Still the debt remained. Then I worked on the bridge at Khari for 16 months. Thus I could pay off the debt. Now you have heard what hardship I went through! I was ready to sell my house and field to write off the debt. Now I don't owe any money to anybody else.