This is a story of remarkable grit and determination.
A Dalit man has pulled off a feat of folkloric proportion and has become a legend in the process.
Daily wage worker Bapurao Tajne’s wife was denied permission to draw water from the village well and was meted out insulting treatment.
Far from taking the insult as his fate, Tajne decided to do the unthinkable- dig a well for himself.
A daily wage worker, he couldn’t have sacrificed his work to dig a well. So he decided to allocate six hours everyday after he returned from work.
As reported by Times of India, the Dalit man from Kalambeshwar village of Washim district had never dug a well before. He devoted six hours daily and it took him 40 days until he struck water.
No one, not even his family members, helped him. His own wife mocked him and everyone else agreed with her thinking the wife’s insult had made the Dalit man crazy.
The villagers’ pessimism emanated from the reality that finding water in a rocky terrain especially when three wells and a borewell near the spot had gone dry was going to be an impossible task.
But, nothing could deter Tajne.
He told Times of India, “I don’t want to name the well owner for I don’t want bad blood in the village. However, I feel that he insulted us because we are poor and Dalits. I came home that day in March and almost cried. I resolved never to beg for water from anybody. I went to Malegaon (the closest town) and bought tools and within an hour I started digging.”
His wife Sangita is apologetic for mocking her husband.
She said, “I did not help him a bit until he struck water. Now the whole family, except the two kids, helps him as he deepens and widens the well. It is already 15 feet deep and Bapurao wants to dig 5 feet further. It is 6 feet wide at the top and he wants to make it 8 feet wide. We are hoping our neighbours will help us in this task.”
Tajne’s feat has made him a little celebrity in the area. Actor Nana Patekar has also phoned him promising all support. A social worker presented him a token gift of Rs 5,000 while the sarpanch visited his house and was full of praise for him.
After a Marathi channel aired his deed, the Malegaon tehsildar also presented him a bouquet.