In the small village of Kalambeshwar in Maharashtra, one man’s hard work and determination has translated into the discovery of a source of water for his entire community.
Bapurao Tajne is a daily wage labourer. For more than a month, this Manjhi-in-the-making has been digging relentlessly in the rocky terrain of Washim with unflinching focus.
The result? A 15 foot deep well that will allow his family and his entire community easy access to water, any time of the day.
Image for representation only. Source: Wikimedia
His accomplishment is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that digging a well is normally a five-person job. Tanje has not only managed to do this single-handedly, but has also done so in the short period of 40 days.
Caste politics in the village prompted him to take on the seemingly impossible task. His wife had not only been denied permission to draw water from a village well but, to make matters worse, had also been insulted.
Tajne told The Times of India, “I don’t want to name the well owner because I don’t want bad blood in the village. However, I feel that he insulted us because we are poor and Dalits. I came home that day in March and almost cried. I resolved never to beg for water from anybody. I went to Malegaon and bought tools and within an hour I started digging.”
Tajne could not afford to conduct a hydrological study to determine the best place to dig a well. “I just prayed fervently to God before starting the job,” he says.
As a labourer, Tajne already does more than 10 hours of backbreaking work a day. Despite the obvious physical strain, he dedicated an additional six hours a day to the well, spending four hours in the morning and another two after getting back home from work.
“It is difficult to explain what I felt in those days. I just wanted to provide water for my whole locality so that we Dalits did not have to beg for water from other castes,” he says.
Everyone, including his family thought he had gone crazy especially because three wells and a borewell in the area had already gone dry. No one came forward to help but Tajne persevered, keen to overcome all obstacles to reach his goal.
At 15 feet, his efforts paid off and he struck water.
Now, his entire community will have unrestricted access to water. Says his neighbour Jaishree, “Thanks to Tajne we get water round the clock. Earlier, we had to travel a kilometre to another part of the village and get insulted sometimes.”
His family too has come around and is now all praise for him. Says his wife Sangita, “I did not help him a bit until he struck water. Now the whole family, except the two kids, helps him as he deepens and widens the well. It is already 15 feet deep and Bapurao wants to dig 5 feet further. It is 6 feet wide at the top and he wants to make it 8 feet wide. We are hoping our neighbours will help us in this task.”
Bapurao Tajne – like Manjhi before him – is proof that no obstacle is too big to overcome, if only you believe.