A Rural Intervention : The Introduction

Thimmaiyanadoddi, a small hamlet of basket weavers located just outside the town of Anekal in Karnataka is home to about a hundred residents. Originating from the tribe Iruligas, the village has resided here for the past fifty years as farmers. The rural landscape, a mixture of cultivated fields and forest creates a picturesque backdrop for community. The name of the village came from Mr. Thimmaiah who taught the villagers how to weave, giving them a new direction in bringing income to their families.

Thimmiyandoddi_site

Despite previous aid from the government and NGO’s, the community still needed some help to motivate them to take responsibility for their own village. The village was approached by a close knit group of socially minded architects who expressed a desire to help out.

The first hurdle would be to convince the residents that some help in development would benefit their village. Thankfully the proposal was met with keen interest and a willingness to participate to bring about positive change.

The poverty of the village was clearly seen in the state of the houses. The poorly constructed structures showed no adherence to any traditional rural construction practices. Apart from dilapidated housing, the village as a whole unit lacked basic amenities. There was no drainage system and no toilets built in the village.

Thimm_house

The intervention would require a multi-approach methodology –

Interact – With the local community for an understanding of cultural usage of space, cultural beliefs and sensitivities.

Collaborate – With the government, NGOs, self-help groups, international agencies, banks, institutions, corporates, and individuals for financial and non-financial help.

Engage – The architectural community for research and development of alternative materials and construction methodologies and volunteerism.

Derive – Specific, local, eco-friendly, long lasting and cost effective design solutions.

Help Construct – Housing and rural infrastructure in a holistic manner.

Much planning and ideation would be required from the team as they began the alliance with the community to bring about positive change.

Where does Karnataka stand?

India has one of the highest percentages of rural population in the world with almost 70% of the country living outside developed towns and cities. With 29 states and 7 union territories, India is an amalgamation of variety in terms of demographics, rural and urban lifestyles and cultures. Where does Karnataka stand?

INDIA, KARNAKATA, HAROHALLI - MAY 24 : Arround Bangalore in the silk farm of farmer Reddy, the ancestral and traditional method is used for spining stage of slikworms. Some wicker basket are used to dispaly the worms. Cross breed cocoon (yellowish) would be produced. Outisde display of basket won't allow temperature's check. Employee woman are displayed the worm in wicker basket.

In Karnataka, the largest state in South India in terms of area, 61% of the population live in rural areas. [i] Most rural dwellers are farmers by occupation, while other occupations like silk farming, weaving and craft making are also found. Karnataka’s plateau terrain, tropical climate and predominantly red soil is ideal for a variety of crops; rice, ragi, jowar and bajra being most abundant.

The map shows thekarnatakapopulationmap districts in the state the distribution of population. Note how the Bangalore region is most dense, followed by Belgaum, while areas like Hasan, Bidar and Chikmagalur have a fairly sparse population. [ii]

What is the architecture in rural Karnataka like? Hand-made mud walls reinforced with sticks and coconut palms with thatched roofs is seen in the poorest of villages. The use of sun-baked mud blocks and clay tiled roofs are seen in other villages who have improved their lifestyles and have slowly incorporated the construction methods and materials of the towns and cities.

A research conducted on the sanitation of each state shows Karnataka in quite a pitiful condition. The study shows the percentage of rural households with toilets and the differences seen over the past decade. Despite an improvement from 18% to 28% in 2011, Karnataka still stands below the all-India average of 31%.[iii]

Sanitation-in-Rural-India-The-Transition-State

Karnataka is in need of a lot of improvement. Despite the aid of the government and many non-government organizations, impact is marginal and change is slow.

Over the next few weeks, blog posts about a few rural projects will give you an insight of what is happening in rural Karnataka.

[i] India Demographics [ii] Karnataka Demographics [iii] Sanitation in Rural India and Karnataka- How has the needle moved? – Pavan Srinath