“It’s a lucky charm,” says Rajesh, pointing to the solar-powered battery in his window that he has smeared with turmeric as a blessing. “It has changed our life.”
He lives in Rajghat, a village on the border of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states, and until very recently was one of the 240 million Indians who live without electricity. In the poverty that results, Rajghat has become a village of bachelors, with just two weddings in 20 years.
“No one wants to give their daughter to me,” says Sudama, another young man. “People come, they visit, but they see the conditions here and they leave.”
For now, the technology is proving most useful to Rajesh as a way to charge his mobile phone, saving a lengthy journey to the nearest city, but he also hopes for future benefits: “I’ll use this to let my children study.”
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