9. How did you explain the ‘situation of water’ to the people in the meetings held during the march?

9While giving a speech in the meeting, I would start a conversation with an elderly person of the village:

“How old are you, Sir?”

“I am 80 years old.”

“Do you remember everything related to your childhood?”

His positive reply would be followed by my question:

“How many wells were there in your village 66 years ago?”

“10 wells.”

“How much land was there in the village?”

“15 thousand VINGHAS .”

“How did you irrigate the fields 66 years ago?”

“With the help of KOS.”

“How many VINGHAS of land could be supplied with water from the wells of the village?”

“If the ox pulling the KOS was strong and good enough, 5 VINGHAS of land could be supplied with water. Hence drawing water from 10 wells of the village, it was possible to supply water to 50 VINGHAS of land.”

“How were the remaining fields irrigated?”

“The farmers had to depend on the rain.”

“How many wells are there in the village at present?”

“Today there are a large number of wells and bore-wells. We also have submersible motors and machines to draw water from the land.”

“What is the condition of water in your village?”

“As today we have innumerable wells and bore-wells in the village, we have almost exhausted all the underground water. If at all we find some quantity of water, it is salty.”

“Sir, don’t you think that we have disturbed or upset Nature’s harmony?”

“Yes, it is absolutely true.”

It was at this point that I would tell them, “If we want to fill these wells with water, we will have to save and store each and every single drop of rain water in the ponds, check-dams and small pools of water in the fields. This water will seep into the land and then it will get collected in the farmers’ wells.”

The old man would say, “You are absolutely right but it is too difficult to do.”

I would tell them that the whole village was affected by this complex problem so it must be solved by the combined efforts of all the villagers. I told them, “Sir, when you were 10 years old, all the fields of the village were uneven, right?”

He would say, “Yes my brother, it is true. If we had a field of 20 VINGHAS, we could sow seeds only in 17 VINGHAS of land as the remaining 3 VINGHAS were covered under water. As land was uneven, water collected in the lower areas of the field. Each and every field of the village was uneven, so water collected in all the fields of the village.”

“How many fields were there in your village?”

“1000 fields in all.”

“It means that approximately 3000 VINGHAS of land were covered under water. That water would seep into the land.”

“Yes, water would seep into the land and that was the reason why all the wells were full of water. Water continuously flew in the rivers and NEHRAS.”

“How much water collects in the fields in the rainy season now?”

“After independence  all the fields were made even and smooth. Its outcome was that no rain water collected in the fields. Instead it flowed away into the sea through rivers and NEHRAS.”

All the people present in the meeting would listen to our talk. Then, addressing all the people I would advise them to ponder about this situation calmly and carefully. 66 years ago, there were 1000 fields of 20 VINGHAS each in the village. Out of 20000 VINGHAS of land, water collected in 3000 VINGHAS. Moreover at that time water was drawn from only 10 wells. But today the situation is vastly different. After independence we leveled each and every field of the village so that we might increase our agricultural produce. The water that collected in the lower areas of the uneven fields and seeped into the land started flowing away into the sea. There was a great rise in the number of wells being dug in the fields. Vast fields were divided into small fields and every small field had a separate well! Slowly and slowly wells dried up. Some farmers got 500-feet deep bore-wells dug and some others got 1500-feet bore-wells in their fields. The water drawn from such deep bores was not pure but was mixed with many metals. This water was not pure enough for humans, animals and agriculture. But what have we done? We have been digging wells ceaselessly and all the underground water has flowed into the sea instead of getting stored in the land. Its result is that we have bereaved each and every village of its greenery.

If we wish to enrich these dry and desert-like villages with green luxury, we have to make small ponds or pools of water in every field. We should construct a series of check-dams in both the rivers and the NEHRAS. If Khopala can be a successful Model Town of water storage project, your village can also be successful in it. In order to achieve this target, all the people of the village should get united, take a firm decision to launch and complete this important water project. Many people of Khopala have settled outside Khopala as they have their business over there. Create such a friendly and positive atmosphere as would motivate those people to extend their willing and active co-operation to achieve this goal. Farmers should give their monetary contribution to the Village Committee in proportion to the land they own. Villagers who are not farmers should also contribute. Those who have their business in other cities should give their contribution for this important project. Form a water storage committee in the village with the help of leading persons in the village. Try to get the benefit of the Government’s various schemes. If you solve this complex problem of water, there will be a remarkable increase in the agricultural produce. The village will get a healthy green environment. Workers will get work and good money  return; shopkeepers’ business will thrive and each and every family will have good income. In short, there will be an all round development of the village and its standard of living will rise. People will find their own village so prosperous and comfortable that they will not think of moving to the cities in order to earn their living. All the village people will be in a position to live a life of peace, harmony and self respect. Before the meeting came to an end we asked the villagers to take the following pledge-

“We will try to abolish the evils of political hostility, caste differences, misunderstanding and an attitude of enmity.”