Bundelkhand: After being denied access to a hand-pump by her upper caste neighbours, a tribal woman in Uttar Pradesh’s parched Bundelkhand has almost single-handedly dug a well that can feed up to 40 families.
“We are tribals and lived in Duddhi village. But we were not allowed to use the hand-pump by the upper caste residents. Arranging for a pot of drinking water was an everyday battle we had to face for the quest of survival,” The Times of India quoted Kasturi as saying in its report.
According to the report, Kasturi moved to a nearby forest area five years ago as she could longer take the insult anymore. Her decision of relocating was rebuked even by her son.
“Everyone thought that I have lost my balance. Some in fact started calling me names,” said Kasturi.
“Though I was happy, the problem of drinking water persisted,” she further added.
The only source of water for her in the jungle was a jhir (dribbling water from rocks) from which water could be collected drop by drop.
“This was not a permanent source and often an entire day was needed to collect a pot of water,” Amit Soni, said Amit Soni, an activist who works for the betterment of Saharia tribe to which Kasturi belongs.
Once she went out of water for days. It was then that she decided to dig a well on her known. Initially, she tried digging at different places but failed.
In January this year, she made yet another attempt. However, the good part was that this time she was not alone. Her sons, daughter-in-laws and daughter accompanied Kasturi in her task.
After three months, about 40 tribal families joined her and by mid of June, a 25-feet deep well was ready but there was no water in it.
They decided to dig it further with the hope that it would conserve rain water during monsoon. After 7-8 days, they hit a rock and water oozed out.