Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia
Once when we were giving a lecture at Rewali Village, Sangeeta (name changed) narrated her tragic daily routine of being beaten up by her father. Her eyes filled with tears, she asked the villagers, “Are we not humans?” Everyone was shaken with the question asked so innocently. In many of the households, children were also traumatized and beaten if they came in the way of the drunken menfolk. Similar shocking stories of violence abound in these villages. Any solution we gave to individuals would lead to further violence. The only sustainable solution was to initiate a “DAARU BANDI” campaign in all the villages. Thousands of women and children held mashaals and walked around the villages, requesting alcohol sellers to shut their businesses. Women sat outside liquor stores singing bhajans. Soon, the sale of illicit liquor stopped.
Bhilegaon is a small village situated on the banks of the Paapnashi river, which empties into the Godavari River. It is also situated in the area covered by the canals fed through the Nagapur Dam. In spite of its location in the comparatively well irrigated areas of the region, there has been a persistent shortage of water. For the past twenty years, villagers had been dependent on water tankers for drinking water. Fed up with their situation, one of the villagers committed suicide by jumping in front of a water tanker. After the construction of canals to be fed by water from the Nagapur Dam, ensuing politics and harassment from the water mafia kept the village dry. Having seen their condition worsen after successive droughts, the villagers resorted to mass protests and andolans to get their share of water.
On 4th Feb 2019, Sandeep Gitte from Nandagaul, under our One Million Fruit Trees campaign planted 2.5 acres of Papaya (2400 plants). On 6th Mar, he planted an intercropping of watermelon in 1.5 acres. His cost of production for watermelon is Rs 35,000. His first production (10 tonnes) - 2nd May was bought by a wholesale trader who came from Aurangabad @ Rs.11.50 per kg. Second production was expected (5 tonnes) on 14th May and third and last (2.5 tonnes) on 20th May. Total income - Rs 2,01,250 for 1.5 acres of intercrop. For farmers, who have been earning Rs 10,000 to 20,000 per acre - this is a BIG jump, that too in just three months and from the sale of an intercrop. Income from the sale of Papaya will be additional.