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Army helps TV-free Kashmir village see World Cup
The 21st century finally caught up with the village of Taiyan in Kashmir this week.
Taiyan: The 21st century finally caught up with the village of Taiyan in Kashmir this week. It took the Cricket World Cup to do it.
On Wednesday, the Indian army set up a huge screen to show 300 villagers from Taiyan the national team's five-wicket win over Netherlands.
Until now, the 2,500 people of Taiyan have not seen a television in the village. You need electricity to make them work and they have not got that either.
They watched in wonder and cheered every boundary hit by Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag from hundreds of kilometres away in New Delhi.
The army had also arranged for India's matches against Bangladesh and Ireland to be shown on the big screen but most did not bother viewing because of poor weather.
For many of Wednesday's audience, who live perilously close to the tense Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan, it was the first time they had seen India's revered cricketers in action.
"Let alone television sets, there is no electricity in the village and there is no way that the villagers manage to see a match," Ganesh Natrajan, an Indian army official, told Reuters Television.
"So the Army has planned that all the matches in which India is playing, we should screen them through a laser projector, so that women, children and old people can all come here.
"They are enjoying the matches as they have never seen anything similar before. They did not have much knowledge about cricket but with the help of World Cup they now have knowledge about cricket."
Yaqoob Mohammad, a middle-aged farmer, agreed.
"I would only like to say that before this, we had never seen matches. Our children and women are also seeing the matches," said Yaqoob.
"There are almost 300 people here that are able to see the matches. And we only pray that India wins."
Not surprisingly, India beat Netherlands, who are not a test-playing nation.
Next will be South Africa on Saturday, in distant Nagpur.
Yaqoob and his friends will be back for front row seats. Weather permitting.
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