Holi, the festival that harks the arrival of spring is celebrated with great fervour among Indians all over the world. People throw coloured powder, douse each other with water, dance, drink bhaang and celebrate with a riot of colours. The past few years, however has dampened the celebrations a bit. The dampener is the crippling drought in Maharashtra that has lasted two consecutive years.
Last year Maharashtra declared drought in 14,708 villages, 34% of the state with less than 50 percent of the average rainfall in the past two years. 1,109 farmers in the Marathwada region alone, ended their lives in 2015. Other have committed suicide and the harsh conditions have forced the migration of farmers to Mumbai and neighbouring brick kilns. It’s not just Maharashtra, 9 states Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal declared a drought in 2015.
The situation this year in Maharashtra remains grim. There is only 25% of water remaining in the state’s dams. In major cities like Mumbai, the shortfall of water is not so badly felt with water tankers supplying people with more than enough water to get through the day. Ministers and celebrities have appealed to people to have a dry Holi this year. There are still some however, who believe that come what may, whatever the cost, they will celebrate the festival this year. Well, if words don’t work, pictures might:
1. Two Children Walking Across the Cracked Earth
2. A Farmer Walking Through His Dry Field
3. Villagers Taking What’s Left of the Common Well in Beed District
4. A Distressed Farmer
5. A Dried Up Body of Water
6. A Farmer Not Being Able to Till His Land
7. The Biggest Victims Are the Farmers Who Depend on the Land For Their Livelihood
8. A Man Walking Across What Was Once a River in Thane
9. A Drinking Water Well in Aurangabad, Maharashtra
10. Animals Have No Fodder or Water For Survival