Princeton University

Class of 1995

Summer Service Fund Reports


Report from India by Suneel Bhat '06

November 30 2004

Southern India
Summer 2004

Bangane is a small village located in the Kumta Taluk of the Uttara Kannada (North Kanara) District in Karnataka, India.  It is a small settlement, consisting of approximately 70 households, with a fairly stable population of roughly 350 individuals, all of whom identify themselves as Kumbri Marati.  The households are spread out over a an area of 3 to 4 square kilometers, which is situated at the foot of a ghatta, or low-lying mountain.  Opposite the mountain is the Aganashini River, a notable feature of the region.  The area is fertile, with monsoon driven agriculture, and the surrounding forest is home to a diverse and thriving ecosystem.  The nearest road is 1 km away, after crossing the river from the village, which is also 1 km away from the riverbank.  The closest adjacent village accessible by foot is about 8 km through the forest.  Therefore, in all expected aspects, Bangane should reflect a typical south Indian halli or koppa (small village); however, this is not exactly the case.  While normally a modest waterway, during the downpours of the rainy season, the Agansashini metamorphoses into a deep red, furious brute, with extremely fast, violet, and turbulent currents.  Crossing the river in this state is very dangerous; 3 to 4 people from the region typically die each year in attempted river crossings.  The nearest road via mountain and forest paths is over 15 km away from Bangane, and again an unfeasible option during heavy rains.  Therefore for nearly 5 months every year the village is entirely inaccessible.  This unique situation of Bangane, coupled with utter poverty and immobility, has kept it near complete isoluation until the past decade.   

Please download this pdf report for the remainder of Suneel Bhat's report on the history of Bangane, the Balwadi project, the anthropological / sociological case study, and the implications of his Summer Service project.


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