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If It Takes a Village, Who Will Buy It?

The hot, dusty fields and mud lanes of a village in central India are all for sale, says the village's headman, who welcomes anyone with the money to buy the community known as Dodli.

Announced by a simple sign -- "Village for Sale" -- the offer is an admitted attempt to bring attention to the town's plight. But villagers say their problems are serious: rising costs, falling prices, bad harvests, inadequate water and high-interest debt from loan sharks.

Experts say Dodli, one of a number of Indian villages threatening to sell, is proof of the gap between Gandhi's rural utopian dream and the realities of India's liberalizing, fast-growing economy, in which the gulf between rich and poor is yawning ever wider.

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Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.
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