Friday, July 19, 2024

Water and Tribal Communities

Written By Laksshha Khanna (Grade 10)

Eons ago, natural resources were worshipped and were considered the crux of mankind’s existence. They were the primary elements that mankind revolved around. 

As the human race evolved, they increasingly became acquisitive and mercenary. Their self-obsessed minds helped them achieve extraordinary developmental feats. Slowly, natural resources were not the only contrivances man needed to live. 

Believing that nature’s gifts are all free, human beings exploited them to the extent where their absence threatened the very human race. 

Where climate change and depleting sources of energy became a reality. Where Mother Nature, from being worshipped, became overburdened. 

Water is one such resource. A liquid like no other for it is the only one which gives life. 

It finds itself to have such a hold on the world that it is found everywhere, used everywhere. A day cannot pass without it being used and harnessed. Water knows no boundaries; it does not discriminate. It quenches the thirst of all, human and animals alike. 

Regardless of it being dynamic, it continues to be the most contaminated. Pollution, overuse, urbanisation has all led to its depletion. It is unfathomable to imagine that a renewable resource is expending and curtailing. 

It is a well-known fact that when people are not faced with water scarcity, they do not feel it necessary to conserve it. After all, we only recognise the worth of water when the wells are dry. 

While the urban areas think that it is not within their jurisdiction to solve the problem of water shortages, the people in rural areas and the tribals have a different approach. 

It fills me with immense pride to know that despite being uneducated and encountering lack of resources, the villagers outdo the urban dwellers when Mother Nature is concerned. 

The Bhil Tribe of Madhya Pradesh revived “Halma” an age-old tradition to conserve the environment. Despite not having access to formal education, their reaction towards decreasing water resources was far from quick and efficient than most urban areas. More than 11,000 trees were planted and more than 25 hand pumps were repaired. The tribe collectively decided to dig more than 100 contour trenches to conserve water. 

India’s northeast has always suffered from paucity of fresh water. To recover from this shortage, they adapted successful methods of rooftop rainwater harvesting. This conservation method can be used to obtain water for direct consumption and for recharging the groundwater through simple filtration devices. 

In Rajasthan, to combat the dreary climate, Johads are constructed in the Alwar district. These are small earthen check dams that capture and conserve rainwater, allowing percolation and groundwater recharge. Initiated by the tribals themselves, this method brought about significant changes in the water table of that region. 

Whether we like it or not, man and water are intertwined. 

Regardless of the grand leaps mankind takes, it will still be dependent on water. For water is an integral part of human development without which it would stagnate. In every aspect of our lives, water is an elixir, so magical and so precious that we cannot imagine a day without it. 

We have to take it upon ourselves, collectively as a community to combat this threat as effectively as possible. 

We often do forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. 

Featured Image Courtesy – Authentic Indonesia

Laksshha Khanna
Laksshha Khanna
I have a passion for writing and I keep challenging my mind by giving a creative twist to my ideas. It is my dream to create a travelogue with my personal experiences of the places I visit.


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