It is an unfortunate fact that streams, lakes and ponds in our country today are being polluted by every single one of us. We have no respect for water despite the fact that we cannot live without it. A new age, modern arrogance is blinding us. We fail to understand the magnitude of the problem when it comes to polluting our freshwater bodies. Urban or Rural we are united by our common attitude of neglecting waterbodies.After months of telephonic coordination, the day finally arrived for team EFI to travel to Puliparaipatti. Internet search for the village might not return many results, as it is still one of those extremely backward pockets of a developing India. Reaching the village is a task in itself as there are just 2 bus services to the village in a given day.
Neatly tucked in the vast dry plains of Virudhunagar dist; Puliparaipatti is a conventional Indian village that every citizen needs to know about. It is a reality check moreover, so that we understand that the real India lives in our villages.
Puliparaipatti: A 45 mins ride on an old town bus on a narrow road surrounded by vast patches of dry land from Sivakasi towards Alankulam will take you to P.patti. Enroute one can find acres of land taken over by “Fireworks” manufacturers. The roads, villages and even homes wear a deserted look in the middle of the day, as majority of them are slugging at one of the godowns manufacturing explosives, so that the larger world can CELEBRATE.
Mid-February in Puliparaipatti makes one realize how it feels to be just an inch away from the sun. Heat reflects from every source and burns all life forms around. Despite these extreme conditions, the resilience with which a few hardworking farmers passionately work reiterates it’s half glass full and not empty.
Ancient wells which once used to be the primary source of water is now being converted into a landfill. This precarious trend is what got Selva and his team to jump into action to take on the larger community, convince them and get them to understand the need to conserve these waterbodies. It’s what we are doing to our lakes in the city is what we are doing to our Open-Wells in our villages. Converting them into dump yards where we conveniently deposit our SINS. With water at the end of an open tap, we fail to understand our source when the tap goes dry. We are in denial mode, where we believe everything is alright and it is just the government’s fault if there is no water. Our common responsibility towards our future isn’t on our agenda. Modernization is a welcome move, however, to disassociate from our roots and expecting to grow is mere ignorance. Even if we are unable to recreate or take forward what our ancestors have left us with, we should not in the least damage them. Our lakes, open wells, streams and dams are structures that stand testimony to a futuristic water-management that we once had, which has fed us all these years. To kill our sources of water is equivalent to pulling the plug on our life-support system.
Conserving Water bodies is the message that ruled P.patti on the 20th n 21st of Feb. Where, many of the young and few of the adults came out with full vigour to clean the open wells that have been neglected in the last 2 decades. From nets to buckets and lot of community bonding it took just 4 hours to clean the open wells that have been dumped with trash for over 15 years. Where there is a will there can be cleaner well was well established.
The young definitely understand environment conservation better, probably because they are going to live longer than the adults. Resting diplomacy aside for a while, it is the adults born between 50’s and 80’s who need to be questioned on why they landed us here in the middle of this chaos. The innocence with which future leaders volunteered gave hope to every single one of us that it’s not all that bad. Even if it get’s worse we have seen the best in these young kids who have motivated us to stay Optimistic.
There are a few who are willing to do all what it takes to conserve whatever is humanly possible by them. Selvakumar (27) is one such a young adult from a distant rural pocket in Tamil Nadu. Selva’s passion towards environment and his efforts to revive natural farming practices in his village is commendable. This article is a narrative of EFI’s journey with Selvakumar.