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Foot bridges as keys to some village futures[continued]

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As of the moment of writing Ayas Shilpa has built 48 foot bridges in all. And demand is steady. His longest is the 220 metres one, near Belgaum across the river Ghata Prabha. He is very open in helping communities that do not have much money. He guides them to places where they can scrounge old cables and usable steel. In 12 instances bridges have been slung between sturdy trees instead of costly RCC pylons. His mission is to connect people with opportunities.

Girish Bharadwaj's story is instructive for those uninformed of India's social dynamics. The establishment and the privileged classes may have had little time for rural India. But that hasn't stopped it from exploring ideas and corralling learned people. India's humble folk revere learning. Bharadwaj narrates the story of a strapping old man in Konannur. "He would spend hours everyday staring at the immense height of the pylons being constructed. He would shake his head in puzzlement. He neither came near me nor spoke to me. I learnt he muttered and wondered how they would use it-- he thought one needed to shinny up the pylon before one crossed the bridge. When the bridge was finally commissioned and he understood the idea he was transformed by delight. For the first time in four months he came close to me and stood in open admiration," says Bharadwaj misting over. "The elder then boomed: "Vidya dhoddadhu, Swamy!""

That translated from Kannada would read, "Sir, knowledge is supreme!" All of India believes that. And that faith is what will 'make' India.


Girish Bharadhwaj
Ayas Shilpa
Sullia (D.K.) 574 239, Karnataka
Phone : [08257]- 600475 , 603545

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