May 2016, was my last visit to Manjara river in Latur. The dried up river looked like a Marusthal (a dead habitat). After 4 years of drought, the Villagers living around this river were fighting their worst battle for survival, with bare enough water available for their daily needs. Children had stopped going to school to help their families hunt water for existence. And Government had to send water trains to meet the drinking water needs of the villagers. There were frequent instances of farmer suicides being reported in newspapers. Villagers were forced to migrate to nearby cities for survival. The situation was alarming.
August 2016, recent trip was a contrast from the last visit. From being a Marusthal Manjara has come to life now. And not only humans but the entire creation- birds, animals, plants around her are rejoicing the rebirth of Manjara. 25-30 feet of water stands in Manjara today and they say a lot more has also percolated in the ground, recharging the dried up wells. 15 km of rejuvenated Manjara is now a source of life for more than 5 lakh villagers.
What an awesome sight this was! Such great transformation took only 3 months time. After 4 years villagers have seen water standing in the river again and making best use of it they have already planted new crops. These crops are insurance for a better future and brighter times ahead for our farmers in Latur. My heart skipped a beat and tears rolled down my eyes and my throat choked in gratitude as I looked up the sky and thanked the Lord for showering his abundant grace upon our villagers. And I felt a sense of satisfaction like never before seeing the May to August contrast. Satisfaction that my life force could be useful for Jal Jagruti Abiyaan, the project that got Manjara her life again and solace for our farmers, our AnnaData.
I learnt that little can be a lot. We had put just a little effort for reviving Manjara but our villagers showered love upon us like we were God’s ourselves, wholeheartedly. All of us felt that we did very little to deserve such incredible respect from them. Our villagers have very big hearts and they treat their guests as God. Seeing Manjara come to life again has given me a new hope and renewed enthusiasm to work for the conservation of our environment and rejuvenation of our rivers. JJA is an example that If we give little attention to our water bodies, nature will support us multiple times and it would not take us long to repair the damages that have been done to these sources of life.The story of Latur is a living example.
Let us together do our little bit. As little can be a lot!