Join the water revolution in Maharashtra
"The most important action is conservation
of water. Sending tankers is not a
permanent solution, if there is consumption
then there has to be restoration of the
water also. We must save rain water and
Darshak Hathi, International Director,
The Art of Living Foundation
What started as a birthday resolve to feed animals ended in a possible life-changing decision for Pawan Gandhi on March 4th. It all started when Pawan spoke to a few Sarpanches (village heads) of few villages. When asked if he could donate food for animals, Pawan was met with a surprise."Food is not a worry, but could you give us water?," they said. The next day, when Pawan drove in with a 50,000 litres of water –tanker, the villagers of Baradari in Ahmednagar came running.
Women had tears, hands folded in gratitude. Children jumped around while men raised Pawan on their shoulders. Amidst the initial euphoria, came a poignant moment when a woman asked Pawan: this water will last for eight days, what will we do after that? This was the day, when Pavan Gandhi, a Volunteer for a Better India and an Art of Living Faculty, adopted Baradari and Lamanvasti. The resolve is simple and for a commodity that is basic to all of us as human beings: water.
This was not the case only in Baradari or Lamanvasti alone. The drought knell began sounding in seven districts in Maharashtra. Ahmednagar, the biggest district in Maharashtra, has received only seven percent rainfall this year. Ahmednagar is home to India's maximum sugar factories. Baradarai is situated at the hill-top, approximately 15 kilometres away from Ahmednagar. The village, home to around 1,200 people, has no water in any well. The condition became so stark that the women would undertake a 4-5 kilometer walk to collect a little water; barefeet in the scorching sun, accompanied by children and other women.
Let's make this fashionable:
# de-silting of rivers and dams
# rainwater harvesting
# continuous contour trenching
# creating water bodies in forest
As immediate relief measures, the Art of Living's initiative of Volunteer for a Better India (Maharashtra chapter) has taken to roads, raising funds and sketching out plans to help resolve the issue. Volunteers have also adopted Osmanabad, Beed and Jalna districts of Maharashtra, which have been affected by the drought. All the while, sending water-tankers to the affected villages.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10,000 litres of water reaches around 400 people by the VBI volunteers," shares Pawan, adding that since March 4th, around 1 lakh litres of water had been delivered to affected areas.
You can help:
It is said that only the sufferer knows the pain and only the saviour knows the feeling of contentment after rescuing the victims. Similarly, Pawan has raised his voice requesting to pull-in more support for the situation in Maharashtra. As a precautionary measure they have also printed hoardings in their district asking people to play dry Holi and save water.
"We all know that we have to save water so we should now start implementing it. Maharashtra will ask neighbouring states for water, so the urban population in Karnataka should help us by saving the water they receive, unlike here where there is no water at all.
Join the water revolution:
#Join the VBI team working on immediate relief measures
#Donate funds toward permanent solutions
#Join the team to conduct prayers and chanting meetings in these
villages to restore their confidence and faith.
Also, whoever wants to contribute, can come and support us. We used our personal money till now but now because of our limitation, we have started collecting money from our inner circles of friends, relatives, and families," he says informing that one tanker costs them Rs 1,200."
These steps may seem tiny. We might seem far removed from this situation. After all, doesn't the tap gush out liquid relief every time we wish? Yet, if we were to imagine ourselves in the shoes of a woman from one of the drought-affected areas, thirsty, desperate to help her children and helpless. Next time you see your tap flowing, stop it, trim the flow. Your single action could give that woman in Maharashtra a few more moments of relief.
Written by Monica Patel