The small village of Kakaddara in drought-prone Vidarbha region of Maharashtra state won the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup 2017. It was the first taste of glory for this small village. On this occasion, we thought we’d tell you a bit about it.
The first thing is that the village has seen watershed development work since 1987; but the work stalled or was left incomplete for various reasons. So, when the Water Cup 2017 was announced, the village decided that it wanted to take part in the competition.
“Only three people from our village could take part in the training (for the Water Cup). But we saw the Chaturrao and Chaturatai (informational) videos on the LCD screen in our school. That helped us a lot,” says Daulatbhau, who is the sole degree holder in the village.
Another factor that contributed to the village’s success in the Water Cup is the participation of women. Many in the village say that they would not have succeeded were it not for help from women. Even women who have not seen the inside of a school became well-informed about watershed development.
Many men and women in the village turned out to be extremely good in building watershed structures. They toiled in the 45-46 degree heat until all the work was done. When the stones they were lifting became too hot in the burning heat of the day, villager Sunitabai suggested that the volunteers wrap their hands in pieces of cloth and continue working. This they did.
What is remarkable is that despite these adverse weather conditions, the villagers did such a good job in building 90 loose boulder structures. In fact, when Water Cup judge Mr. Popatrao Pawar saw their work, he said, “I have not seen such good-quality LBS in Maharashtra before.”
The village gives a few people special credit for its success. One of these people is Vikas Watkar, the principal of the local school. He contributed to the village’s Water Cup effort through spreading knowledge and through shramdaan.
Another man is Kunal Pardeshi, who is an engineer by training. He is based in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. He wanted to apply his skills in improving people’s lives, and came to Kakaddara. He stayed in the village for a month, and contributed his labour for its welfare. He says, “Those days were remarkable and unforgettable. Without a pause, everyone worked for 45 days. The people of Kakaddara are so straightforward that to see them is to have a vision of humanity.”
Kakaddara has 376 residents. It is small by any standard, especially in a densely populated country such as India. Yet its people, by dint of united effort and well-directed labour, won the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup 2017. More importantly, they did not work for the prize. They worked to banish drought from the village. And they have taken a huge step towards their goal.
Read an article about this village’s story (in Marathi) here.