They say good things come to those who wait, but should this native of Keonjhar District in Odisha have waited for the municipal authorities to take action, the residents of his tribal village, Baitarani, might just have had to relocate due to severe water scarcity in the area.
The native in question, is Daitari Naik. Due to their agriculturally dependant, forested locality lacking irrigation provisions- this 70 year old man was compelled to take matters into his own hands. A lack of irrigation facilities during a time of drought, posed a formidable threat to the livelihoods of the residents of Baitarani. Naturally, without water for cultivation, their chief source of income was severely stunted.
In order to resolve the issue, Daitari Naik and members of several other families in the village, worked tirelessly for years to clear the natural obstructions in their path, and to enable water to flow down from the hills and into their land.
The village itself, took a unanimous decision to bring themselves the water that the district administration was sluggish in providing them with.
Villages in areas surrounding Baitarani, are also hard-pressed in getting enough water to suit their cultivation and consumption needs. Dams that were built to abate the villagers’ need to depend entirely on uncertain water sources like rainwater, have since dried up, further pronouncing the gravity of the crises. Unfortunately, this has led to them mainly turning towards unsanitary sources of water- like stagnant ponds and lakes- to have their requirements met.
The success of Daitari and his village of Baitarani, in carving out a canal of their own for irrigation, has prompted able-bodied residents of neighbouring villages too, to carve into the mountains and bring water downstream into their forested homes. The work ahead is cumbersome, requiring them to cut through solid rock, and clear out thousands of tons of debris from the hills, but for the sake of their homes and their livelihoods, the villagers are determined to succeed at bringing water to their lands, as Daitari Naik and his team did.
This story is not only a strong testimony to the value of persistence, but it also tells a poignant tale of the importance of working together in unison, towards a noble cause.
Good things may very well come to those that wait, patience is also after all a virtue; however in life, it is best to work towards materialising our goals, rather than to wait for fortune to fall into our laps conveniently. Unfortunately, far too many of us take a lax approach in life towards getting things done. Perhaps this is solely due to the fact that unlike the residents of Baitarani and its neighbouring villages, our issues are rarely ever that pressing.
I strongly believe however, that if we cease to wait, start to act and stop blaming the rest of the world for its inability to deliver results quickly, then we will truly be able to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. Perhaps we may even be able to help the people around us through our decision to make change, much like Daitari Naik did for his entire village.
Image Credits: PHKStudios.