Meet Kasturi: ‘The Lady Manjhi’ who dug 25-feet deep well in parched Bundelkhand, UP

Living in the forest was a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop, said Kasturi

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(Representational Image) Image Source: Parched land
  • Kasturi, ‘The Lady Manjhi’ dug a well for 40 families after they were denied the access to a hand-pump by her upper-caste neighbours
  • It took her almost five years to dig the well completely
  • Living in forest was again a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop

Remember the chills you had when you first got to know about Dasaratha Boater ‘Mountain Man’ aka ‘Manjhi’ who alone with hammer and chisel cut to a street cast in high mountains! Here’s another story of strong will and impeccable strength that made a tribal woman dig a well almost single-handedly in the dried up area of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

Meet Kasturi, ‘The Lady Manjhi’ who dug a well for 40 families after they were denied the access to a hand-pump by her upper-caste neighbours.

Talking about the daily struggle she and the other families went through to get even a single pot of drinking water, Kasturi said, “We are tribals and lived in Duddhi village. But we were not allowed to use the hand-pump by the upper caste residents. Arranging for a pot of drinking water was an everyday battle we had to face for the quest of survival,” reported TOI.

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It took her almost five years to dig the well completely. Speaking to TOI Kasturi iterated, “I told my sons that I will move to another place. In a few days, I made a hut near a forest area.”

In spite of being criticised by her sons and being constantly ridiculed by the villagers, Kasturi never gave up.

Living in the forest was again a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop.

Activist Amit Soni, who works for the Saharia tribe to which Kasturi belongs, said, “This was not a permanent source and often an entire day was needed to collect a pot of water.”

Initially, she would dig at different places but couldn’t succeed. She would often think of giving up but then had no other option.

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However, in January she was joined by her sons, daughter-in-law and daughter and by April almost 40 families joined her.

“In the mid of June, 25 feet deep well was ready but there was no water. Still, we decided to dig it further thinking that rain water would be conserved during monsoon. However, a week later, we hit a rock and water oozed out,” she added ecstatically.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff writer at NewsGram. Twitter:  iBulbul_

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