Swades, a masterpiece by Ashutosh Gowariker, still remains one of the best movies Indian Cinema ever had. The movie did wonders on box office and reached straight on to the hearts of the Indian audience. There were many who got inspired by Shahrukh’s character – Mohan Bhargava – but hardly anyone stood by the muse. But, what if we say – Yes – There is a real-life Swadesi who transformed a village, bringing it back to life.
Datta Patil, an engineer based in Santa Clara, California, belongs to a village Halgara in Latur District. His love for the home village never faded away and the parental roots remained strong even overseas. Though the engineer kept on visiting India every year to meet his family, there was something which hit him hard in the year 2016. According to a media source, Datta Patil said that a few years back he visited Halgara and as per the family ritual, they went out through the village. What then, he noticed was the dry surroundings and no green land. His village was badly affected by drought.
Soon after, the engineer researched through the details on land in Halgara, in turn, comparing it with California, also because it is a dry state too. What amazed him was the difference between rainfalls which both experienced. According to Datta Patil, Halgara faced 800 mm of annual rainfall whereas, California had only 400mm. Still, those residing in California never faced a water crisis. Datta Patil then made a major revelation stating that the groundwater level was the prime reason behind the drought. California had the depth of 70ft. and Halgara’s level was shockingly 800 ft.
Datta made a robust decision and invested an amount of 3 Lakh to commence watershed management activities. With such clear vision, he soon earned the trust from local villagers residing in Halgara. His convincing skills were so apt that the villagers extended support of 5 lakh followed with two hours of field work as shramdaan. Also, Yahoo, where Datta Patil is currently based on the position of Director of Engineering, made a contribution of approx. Rs 1 crore, for the project. It was the time when Amir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate hosted a competition between the villages to assess who worked best for watershed management.
As a result of constant work from both labors and Datta, Halgara presently possesses lush green surroundings and 200 crore liters of stored water. Also, the engineer has spent approx. Rs 22 lakhs, on a personal basis, to bring back his childhood village into existence.
Inspiring right? But, guess what – We need thousands of such Datta Patils to bless our struggling villages.