An Animators’ Training was organized under the Samajdar Jodidar project, from 11th and 16th May in Solapur and Beed districts of Maharashtra. Subhash Mendhapurkar and I were present there as the trainers. The first phase of the 3 day training was at Halo Medical Foundation in Anadur at Solapur. We reached the training venue on 10th night and saw that 11 Animators of Astitva Samaj Vikas and Sanshodhan Sanstha had already reached, along with one Facilitator. By next morning, two more Facilitators arrived. Upon asking, we were told that many Animators could not reach because it would have been difficult to arrange water for men and animals. All of them live in Sangola Taluka of Solapur district which is facing drought right now. There is no water to drink because of the drought in the entire area. There has been very little rain. A tanker comes about every three days and supplies water to the village, but as to when it will come next- no one is ever certain. As a result of which, all family members must wait in anticipation for the tanker. Under these circumstances, if the Animator leaves his home to attend a training, then this goes against all that they have learnt and dreamt of in their life. Yet, this was not easy for me to understand.
The second phase of training was in Kaij Taluka of Beed district. Some of the Animators of Beed could not come. There was no one at their homes to fill the water.
Upon returning from Kaij to Pune, I stayed at Jamkhed. While chatting with a man, I casually remarked that the bulls here are quite skinny. He immediately retorted that there is no water for people and how will animals be fed. Animals stray long distances in search for water.
I sat at a tea shop where there was quite a crowd, perhaps because it was in the middle of a busy market. I noticed that the water is from Water Board, which is kept in a huge earthen pot. The earthen pot was enough to store 150-200 litres of water. It was almost half full. A man employed by the tea shop was cleaning the pot and throwing the water out on the road. This was troubling to see. My colleague Subhash ji could not remain quiet and said to the man that there is such shortage of water and here you are wasting precious water. The man answered that he will have to clean the pot as it contains drinking water. Seeing this, I felt that slowly, sensitivity is coming to an end. On one hand so much water is being wasted and on the other hand the politics of water is going on. Every politician is going from village to village assuring that something will be done about the water problem.
The question rises whether we can learn from someone else’s experience or will this need to experience everything ourselves make us burn our hands first?
Satish Kumar Singh