Manali-Leh Highway and the Border Roads Organization

The new academic semester has started and it will take me sometime to get back to my regular blogging. At the start of the semester, life seems so hectic, but two weeks later, I invariably find time. In the meanwhile, I thought I will share this moving piece written by Vikrum at How the Other Half Lives.

I also noticed that their clothes were pathetically inadequate for the climate. One man had a torn green windbreaker and another wore two long-sleeved t-shirts. It was painful for me to see these grown men shivering as they observed us.

These men, like the Nepalis, seemed eager to talk to anyone who would listen. I introduced myself to the group, and one man answered for all of them. The first thing he said caught me off-guard. He said, in Hindi with a strong country accent, “We are proud to keep this highway open for you all.”

I realized that he worked for the Border Roads Organization. He and his friends were the reason why the road was open and in such excellent condition.

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5 thoughts on “Manali-Leh Highway and the Border Roads Organization”

  1. Thats very touching. Its the same story in all the mountain roads.I have seen school children of age 14 working during summer vacation to earn extra buck in Arunachal.

  2. Yep, I’ve seen many of the BRO workers on my trip through Spiti, Lahaul and Ladakh. Sometimes, they were using heavy machinery but many times they were doing their jobs with bare hands. Unbelievable!!!

  3. Thanks fr the link Mridula. I recently read a marathi novel “Rarang Dhaang” (..Dhaang in mountain lingo = the tall cliffs..)…the book was beautiful. It sketched the story of an engineer assigned to the BRO; the constant struggle between man and nature in these altitudes. The book also mentioned the of lives of these laborers….what a hard life!

  4. Arun, I guess it is common across India, this hard life for so many.Unbelieveable is the word Rich.Bellur, you are absolutely right about teachers needing it more than the students!Akira, I wish I could read that book but I know no Marathi. Thanks you so much for sharing it here.

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