Gone are the days when actors used to confine themselves to their craft. With superstars like Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone earnestly trying to champion pressing causes, there has emerged a new line of socially responsible actors. These new age actors are trying to usher in a change through their philanthropic work. Associating themselves with NGOs and charitable institutions these artists have put their stardom to good use. Taking bonafide advantage of their position as public figures, these stars have utilised their influence in the rightful manner. Grabbing headlines for all the right reasons, Aamir Khan has been striving towards the establishment of a fair and just society.
Actor with a purpose: Aamir’s quest to free Maharashtra of draught.
Hogging the limelight with his social initiatives, Aamir Khan has been working towards the betterment of society. Setting up the Paani Foundation in 2016, Aamir Khan along with his team of Satyameva Jayate, has been on a mission to alleviate the abject misery of the farming community in the arid areas of Maharashtra. The falling water tables has indeed been a matter of grave concern in the state. With a burning desire to revolutionise water management in the country, Mr. Khan, initiated the Satyameva Jayate Water Cup in 2016. A pet project of the Paani Foundation, the pilot study of the Water Cup was undertaken in the three taluks of Ambajogai (Beed), Warud (Amravati) and Koregaon (Satara), in the drought-prone regions of Marathwada, Vidarbha and Western Maharashtra. Breaking the usual norms of philanthropy, the non-profitable organisation focussed upon empowering the villagers rather than providing monetary relief. Very much against the expectations of the village leaders, the foundation instead of donating copious amounts of money, decided to train the villagers in watershed management and water conservation techniques.
The First edition of the Water Cup was a huge success, with training imparted to 850 villagers. 116 villages took part in the Water Cup, a competition that tests the ability of the trained villagers to efficaciously put their skills to practise. The Foundation was able to fulfil its agenda with the creation of a water storage capacity of 1368 crore litres in just a brief span of 45 days. With the water storage capacity valued at a whopping Rs.272 Crores, the voluntary labour put in by an average of 10,000 people daily as part of Shramdaan, was indeed laudable. Bridging the chasm between the urban and the rural, the foundation provided a platform for people from diverse walks of life to put aside their differences and come together for a noble cause.
Assured of the project’s feasibility, the team in its second edition decided to test the scale of its operation. Opening its doors to thirty talukas, the Foundation extended training to 6,000 people in 22 centres. As a measure to ensure the quality of training being imparted, the Foundation provided free access to 20 tutorial videos in Marathi that disseminated information on the various methods of watershed management. They also created the Paani Foundation App, in order to track the progress of work being done during the duration of the Water Cup. With an average of 65,000 people putting in their labour on a daily basis, the team was able to create a water storage capacity of 8,261 crore litres. Bridging the urban-rural divide, the team was able to garner support from 25,000 city dwellers who participated in their ‘Back to the Villages’ initiative titled, `Chalgavi.’
Now with the third edition launched on World Water Day (March 22), Aamir has taken upon the responsibility to raise an army of ‘Jalmitras.’Scaling up to include 75 talukas, the Foundation has extended training to more than 20,000 people from 4,025 villages through 60 training centres. With the successful completion of the competition on 22nd May, the Foundation now expects massive support on the day of Mahashramdaan, slated on the eve of Maharashtra Day (May 1).Calling upon the educated youth to change the rural scenario, Aamir has been painstakingly working towards gathering more urban support. His earnest and sincere efforts towards making Maharashtra a drought-free state is highly commendable. He can indeed be hailed as `a superstar’ in the realest sense.
Picture Credits: CounterCurrents