A Great Divide

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On full alert: A soldier belonging to India’s Border Security Force stands guard at the fence, scanning the Bangladeshi side for trouble

The village of Panidhar is a cluster of 18 mud, brick and bamboo houses in a poor, wet corner of eastern India. Its problems will sound familiar to anyone who has traveled through the country’s thick rural darkness. Panidhar’s 195 residents live on rice and fish from the surrounding paddy fields and ponds; lucky children get vegetables and lentils, too, but few go to school. The brick factory across the Ichamati River sends boats to fetch a few of the young men; the rest have left for cities many miles away.



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