National Geographic : 1956 Apr
linga and scores of near by villages had begun in earnest, firing the imagi nation of the whole abo rigine area. With few exceptions, everyone attending was the first of the family to learn to read and write. Part of the excitement was be cause the youngsters were learning not their simple mother tongue but Hindi, India's official language. Within a generation they would be able to commu nicate with millions of other people from whom these tribes had always been isolated by language. We asked what they would want to read first, these people so long set apart under circumstances where they had not even needed words like "book" and "newspaper." "We want to read how other people grow better rice and live better," was Anantram's prompt reply. Villagers Eager for Schooling It would be difficult to imagine a more convinc ing report on the progress of education than the one Naidu wrote from mem ory for us one day, backing half a sheet of crumpled paper against Noronha's jeep hood. In his own neat handwriting (we have it before us 582 Laundry and Well: a Stagnant Pond Contaminated water holes have long been a major cause of India's low life expectancy. Many villages have dug mod ern wells (opposite) and con verted ponds to fish-breeding tanks (page 585). Here a laundress beats clothes against a rock while another housewife starts home with a jar of drinking water.