Spring, woman, access and man! — Javulke Budruk village, Pune district of Maharashtra
Photograph and Narrative Provided by Dhaval Joshi
The photo depicts a woman carrying water from a Spring near her habitation in Javulke Budruk village of Pune district of Maharashtra. The photo depicts many aspects of water as follows:
Women predominantly collect/fetch water for the household needs from various sources. The photo depicts that aspect of the reality. It is essentially a role designated for women in many communities across India.
Spring water sources tend to occur in hills and undulating terrains wherein groundwater hits land surface and emerges out as spring. The spring (although not visible in photo) in this village is located on a small hillock near the habitation and is the preferred source of water for domestic purposes and livestock needs. Unlike dug-wells which are created/constructed, springs occur. Hence, we find dug-wells close to or within habitations but springs are little farther from the habitations (not necessarily always- exceptions can be found in other places).
Since springs are far away from habitation there is always an issue of woman’s safety (molestation, harassment etc.) which may emerge. These places are often wild (less human activity) and hence it is preferred that safety is guaranteed. The boy here is accompanying the women solely/mostly for that purpose (apart from of course giving a company). She would usually do this activity with her women friends, colleagues etc. but may be none of them were available that day and hence the boy accompanied her.
Lastly, she is a member of a scheduled tribe (Thakar community) whose habitation is near this spring source. These communities reside in most of the western Ghats tract of Maharashtra, mostly on such terrains (long history associated with that like why there, since when, etc.). The point here is that they are usually not connected to the mainstream drinking water schemes implemented by the village owing to many dimensions of caste, accessibility, geographical challenges (elevation, far from ‘main’ village habitation etc.). Hence many community members from this habitation depend on springs for their source of water. The only other source they have is a hand-pump located in their habitation.