Under an Indian Sky: Ten Years in a Bihar Village
An unflinching account of rural poverty in Bihar through the eyes of a young English nurse
Janet Ganguli grew up in England listening to stories about her grandfather who had spent twenty-five years in India during the British Raj. After training as a nurse she journeyed overland to India, eventually making the small village of Titmoh in Bihar (now Jharkhand) her home for ten years.
Unfazed by her new world peopled by poor villagers for whom survival was a daily struggle, she set about her task to provide them with basic health care and do what she could to help them improve their lives. She soon realized that this was going to be far from easy, observing close at hand how, besides the vicissitudes of nature, the villagers had to contend with moneylenders, quacks, contractors and callous or rapacious government officials.
In Under an Indian Sky we see the portly moneylender waiting to collect sacks of rice from the family even as the malnourished five-year-old Anil lies dying beside him.
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animals arrived asked baby bamboo became Bengali bicycle Bihar Budhan bullocks Calcutta called centre Choudhary collect crowd Dalit dark Debimaya decided Deoghar diarrhoea doctor Dr Yadav Dumka Dumna eventually explained Fatepur feeling felt forest gave Giridih give hand happened harvest heard Hindi Hiro hospital idea India injection irrigation jackfruit Jagdishpur jeep Jharkhand journey khalyan labour lack Lalchand land later leaf plates learnt leaves lives Madhupur mahua managed Manan medicine meeting miles moneylender monsoon morning mother mukhia night oral rehydration therapy paddy fields patients Patna picking poor poverty quack rain returned rice rupees Santhal sarees Saxsena seemed Sekirna someone sometimes Somra station stopped Suku survival Sushila talk Tiggery Titmoh told took town train treatment trees tried village health workers waited woman women X-ray young