Power of the road

For any longtime observer, the villages of Southasia, even in very remote areas, are today changing rapidly and dramatically. There are several reasons for this, the most significant of which is the construction of new roads, which are increasingly penetrating into more and more valleys and hamlets hitherto inaccessible by motorised transport. In addition, radio, telephone and television networks continue to expand; and drinking-water and electrification schemes, both large and small, are bringing the countryside onto the same grid. Village folks are now beginning to enjoy some of the perks of modernity. All the while, the flow of remittance monies earned by people working in other parts of Southasia or overseas is helping to transform their home country.

In Nepal, rural inhabitants generally like a road coming into their village, or even just passing nearby. As Bhakta Bahadur Shrestha from Karidhungha in Dolakha district east of Kathmandu says: 'Since the road is passing in front of my house, I feel connected with the outside world – we're no longer isolated like we were. Now, I enjoy taking the bus to Kathmandu to see my grandchildren.' Roads go in two directions, however. Another man, Krishna Lal from Nigale, in Sindhupalchok district, worries that since his village has been connected by road to Kathmandu, many people have been losing their traditional values, particularly the youth.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian