Saturday, April 19, 2014

16 - 04 - 2010 to 16 - 04 - 2014 : FOUR YEARS IN WARDHA - PART TWO


The Stark Reality of Indian Villages: My research work took me to Rajasthan and Gujarat to interact with farmers of the region. The stark reality of Indian Villages is still hard to believe, in spite of all the tall claims by the Ruling Government and Politicians from all the parties. Fetching Drinking Water is still the most daunting task for every village woman and their children. Women have to walk miles to fetch drinking water every single day for their family. These two Rajasthani Children walk near about 1.5 kms to fetch water in hot Sun from the nearby Village School.

In the interiors villages, women have to walk more than 5 to 6 kms (minimum) to fetch Drinking Water balancing pitchers on their head. This is the start reality of Indian villages after 64 years of freedom. India is progressing, claims the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Is this what he means by "PROGRESS"? Why are "We as the Nation" so callous towards our villagers, who feed the nation while living lives full of hardships?

After almost 4 years, Rajasthani Farmers were able to get two crop cycles in the year 2010 - 2011. Farmers harvesting their crops.

An Old Happy Farmer with his grandson pose with their Chana (Pulse) crops to thank the Rain God for His Blessings.

Interaction with Rajasthani Farmers over a cup of tea... I learned a great deal about the hard labour they put when there is scanty rainfall. The men migrate to cities to work in Marble Quaries and return after six months to grow the winter crops. Majority of Rajasthani Farmers have a good Cattle Bank and they love them more than self. During the severe drought in the State, the farmers sold all their gold to fetch Cattle Feed from Punjab and Haryana to save their Cattle. Unlike Vidarbha Farmers... hardly 5 to 10 per cent of the farmers possess Cattle.

Premji Bhai Patel and his wife of UPLETA, Gujarat: The only Indian to have been awarded President Award twice by President Abdul Kalam Azad for "Effective Rain Water Harvesting in Rajkot District" and "The Indian who planted more than 1 Crore Plants". I was fortunate to spend two and a half days with the amazing man. He treated me with stern admonishes and love and care like a grandfather would treat his grandson. Learned a great deal about Rain Water Harvesting. I have never seen my own grandparents, so they became one. I have lost grandma and the love for trees has made 87 plus year old Premji Bhai to dig his own grave in his 4-Acre Farm by writing in his 'Will' his last wish is to be buried, as no trees should be cut for the last rites, and that no Mazhaar should be built over his grave, instead regular farming should be done over his dead body. I was truly amazed by his agile undying spirit and stamina, even at his age. 

Exploring Melghat in Amravati district: Melghat Region in Vidarbha is Korku Tribal Belt. The remote villages have not seen ELECTRICITY in their life time. The indomitable spirit of Korku Farmers made me to see how these farmers with bare minimum work force (Maximum 3 members) and bare minimum tools dig wells with bare hands in a period of 30 days. Indian Politicians may have Tall Claims of Economic Development, I ask them: Is this the REAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT? Do they even know such a thing happens in this 21st Century of our Modern Civilization?

Worked very hard during the Monsoon in 4 Tribal Villages in Melghat with other volunteers to provide Medical Assistance to children and adults alike.

Clicked a Korku Child, the best shot I have ever captured during the Medical Camp in Melghat.

I was their friend, book binder and the subject of amusement and fun. The moment they see me, the whole lot would start 'Johnny Johnny Yes Papa' poem in their high pitch and laugh out aloud. The love of the Village School Children is totally priceless! They loved to pose for my camera and proudly go around showing their photograph to the whole village with great delight. I always click pictures and give the individual a copy of photograph in my next visit. 

The Trust Registration finally came through on the 1st of December 2011. There were lots of learning and unlearning while interacting with farmers from Rajasthan and Gujarat to understand better the Agricultural Crisis. The Blog was making steady progress all across the World and I connected with many 'Leading Activists' from various countries exchanging notes on farm practices and farmers' suicide. Farmers' Suicide is a "Global Problem" and it is happening more in the "Developed Nation" due to various Faulty Government Policies. Through the Blog I wrote about simple solutions to tackle major farmers' crisis for respective authorities to take a serious note. Rainfall was good for the Second consecutive year in Vidarbha and the number of farmers' suicide declined considerably. The Second Year saw great grasping of the real grounds' crisis and problems.

The "Journey of Destiny" continues...

... to be continued...


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