Bapurao Tajne is a Dalit labourer from the Kalambeshwar village in Washim district of Maharashtra.
In March this year, the upper class owner of a well refused his wife to draw water from it. Stung by the insult, Tajne cried all day. But the owner’s remarks had stirred something in him.
That day Tajne decided to do the impossible – dig a well in a rocky terrain. And so he began.
Tajne and his wife sitting before the well. The villagers now get water anytime of the day. TOI
Though Tajne expected help from his neighbours and family, none came forward. On the contrary, he was even humiliated by his wife for trying to do something considered a fool’s errand given the terrain’s condition.
He had no experience digging a well but he stayed firm on his decision. He went to neighbouring town of Malegaon and bought digging tools.
Back in his village, Tajne trusted his instincts to choose the spot for his well. And then he began digging.
Tajne looking up from the well he dug in 40 days straight.TOI
He continued digging and one day struck water.
The well is now 15 feet deep and six feet wide at the top. Neighbours and nearby villagers are now thankful to Tajne for ending their water woes. At the same time they feel ashamed for making fun of him when Tajne was on his way of achieving this seemingly insurmountable feat.
“I don’t want to name the well owner for I don’t want bad blood in the village,” Tajne told TOI.
The labourer is still working on the well trying to make it even bigger. Now there are hands eager to help him. While the village sarpanch visited his house, Tajne got a call from actor Nana Patekar who said that he’ll meet the man soon. And there are people in neighbouring towns and government officials offering support.
In parched Maharashtra, Tajne is the example of man’s will power. He is not alone today, but perhaps if there was no caste or class divide and the government officials did their job a little better, he would not have had to dig the well in the first place.