The utter generosity of the poor humbles us. They give rice to every mendicant even when their rice is getting over. That is what needs to be understood - their greatnes and their richness. That is what they are defined by. That they are impoverished is what defines us.
We are the cause of that poverty - and the onus is on us to share deeply and completely. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We have destroyed our lands through an
unforgivable groundwater extraction. Maybe irremedially.
There were droughts in the past . Annasamy
Anna, now 70, remembers the 'erra jonna karuvu' (red jowar famine) of his
childhood, when the village used to walk to Vallivedu 3 km away daily to drink
the gruel that would be poured out in gruel centres. But though crops and rains
had failed, there was drinking water as there was some water in some well due
to surviving ground water. Also the soil moisture allowed for some grass, and
so the cows did not die. Trees also survived due to the same reason.
Then borewells came in,
and in thirty years devastated the groundwater as they drew out the stored
water of aeons. For those thirty years it was a bonanza and people irrigated
drylands, and grew cash crops like sugarcane and built their dream cement houses. The
groundwater fell from 50 feet to 1000 feet. Today the groundwater is exhausted,
and there is also not a molecule of soil moisture. In these droughts trees die,
cattle starve and people have no drinking water.
And when water is mined
from the 1000 feet and used for irrigation, that is high in salts, and the
irrigated lands gets salinized and rendered worthless. That has happened in the
Madanapalle area already. Currently the dissolved salts in water is 5 times the
permissible levels, and that is what people are drinking,
The polity needs to implement the toothless
groundwater extraction laws. Urgently. And save places not yet devastated.
(even in the years
since we moved to the village)
12 years ago - Agriculture thrived. Water was
at 200 feet depth. There was vigour and hope.
12 years later - Barren lands, no water even
at 700 feet depth, not a molecule of water in lands sucked dry by borewells.
We saw this coming.
But the technology of borewells and electricity brooked no questions.
waterlessness stalk Rayalseema. People collect some pots of water from the one
functioning bore near Daliwada, Paalaguttapelle. Again the slight grass cover
that appeared after the slight rains has dried up, and the cows stay hungry and
thirsty. There is no agriculture, no livlihood, no grass cover for cows.
The resource base is exhausuted in adrought. Annapurna was telling me, 'Madam I was making some money by
sending to Chennai tamarind and amla powder. Now there is no tamarind as the
trees have all been cut. After the red sanders issue, the people have no access
to the forest for MFP also, and so there is no amla.' ! I asked her if her
tailoring was going on. She said that when people dont have money for food in
thisdrought, were can they get blouses stitched. It is all so
The last village bore
also dried up some months ago, and there is drinking water crisis. Once in two
days a tanker gives 15 pots of water per family (of 5 adults and some cattle.).
There is insufficent water for cattle. The calf in Varalu's home died of hunger this morning after weakening for a few days. All cows are hungry.
Eashwaramma has sold
her cow - and my heart stopped when she said this. The money from pouring milk
was the only line of hope for the grandchildren dependent on her. But she is
clear - she could not manage the water for the cow, and there was nowhere to
get fodder from. She has accepted the situation - of complete assetlessness
with equanimity. Eashwaramma is actually glad she sold her cow earlier - now it
will be distress selling, and the cows will go to the butchery. People will
follow the cows to yamaloka, because the only income they have is from selling
a little milk in this drought.
Distress sale of cattle is hapenning, and
looming larger. Munneshwari is bringing up re daughters Nandini and Chendu on her own, with
her husbands drunkenness getting more
by the day. In this drought she has held
onto her cows with grit. They bought a tractor load of straw for 10,000/-. I
asked her where she got the money from, and she said somehow she got it from
Banakadapalle. i asked her what the interest was and she said 5/- (Per month.
Which is 60% p.a.). There is not even water for the cows, and the tractor gets
limited number of pots of water per home per day from the one live bore in te
panchayat. So she leaves water pots in everyone's home, and they pous the water
from washing rise into it, and the rice starch, and that she collects and
manages as one round for the cows.'
The resource base is exhausuted in a drought.
Annapurna was telling me, 'Madam I was making some money by sending to Chennai
tamarind and amla powder. Now there is no tamarind as the trees have all been
cut. After the red sanders issue, the people have no access to the forest for
MFP also, and so there is no amla.' ! I asked her if her tailoring was going
on. She said that when people dont have money for food in this drought, were
can they get blouses stitched. It is all so inter-connected.
There is total unemployment as agriculture
stopped many months ago. With no money, people are having to purchase rice,
pulses oils all at city rates from the shops. One can imagine what they would
be eating. There are health crises, as is common in a malnourished community and there is no money. 2017 Worse goes to worst.