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Indian Man Spends 40 Days Digging a Well after His Wife Is Denied Access to Drinking Water

Determined to provide his family with drinking water after they were refused access to a local well, this Indian man spent 40 days digging up a 15-ft well in his hometown of Kalambeshwar village, in the state of Maharashtra. Under normal circumstances it would have taken four or five people to complete such a task, but Bapurao Tajne managed to do it all by himself.

Tajne, a daily-wage laborer, is a member of the village’s Dalit community, which has long since been discriminated against by people from ‘upper’ castes. In this case, Tajne’s wife Sangita went to draw water from a well in the village, but was insulted by the owner of the well and asked to stay away from it. Incensed by the incident that took place in the midst of the severe water crisis Maharashtra, Tajne decided to dig Sangita her very own well, so she would never have to suffer this kind of humiliation.

Using tools that he bought from the nearby Malegaon city, Tajne started digging and kept at it for six hours a day – four hours before his regular job and two hours after. Given that three existing wells had already gone dry in the village, it seemed like a foolhardy initiative, and the other villagers discouraged him and even made fun of his stubbornness. No one stepped forward to help him and even his wife stayed away for fear of being ridiculed. But Bapurao didn’t give up – he kept on digging until, on the 40th day, he finally struck water.

Bapurao-Tejne

Now that the 15 ft deep, 6 ft wide well is ready to be used, Tajne has graciously permitted all his fellow Dalits to draw water from it, along with his wife. “Thanks to Tajne we get water round the clock,” his neighbor Jaishree said. “Earlier, we had to travel a kilometer to another part of the village and get insulted sometimes.”

Despite the fact that his wife was treated badly, Tajne has refused to name the person who insulted her. “I don’t want to name the well owner for I don’t want bad blood in the village,” he said. “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 water from anybody.”

Bapurao-Tajne

“I prayed fervently to God before starting the job,” he added. “I am thankful that my effort has been rewarded. 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 do not have to beg for water from other castes.”

Today, Tajne is considered a local hero and his ambitious feat has been featured on several local TV stations. His dedication and hard work have also earned him the appreciation of the local government and teh respect of his wife. Sangita now regrets mocking him during his struggle. “I did not help him a bit until he struck water,” she said. “Now the whole family, except the two kids, helps him as he deepens and further widens the well. It is already 15 ft deep and Bapurao wants to dig five feet further. It is six feet wide at the top and he wants to make it eight feet wide. We are hoping our neighbors will help us in this task.”

 

Tajne, on the other hand, is too proud to directly ask for help. “When the tehsildar (local tax collector) asked me what sort of help I needed, I told her to do whatever was appropriate,” he said.

via Times of India

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