I am in the middle of nowhere, out on a field visit to understand how fluoride, a deadly contaminant in groundwater has been afflicting people in some of the worst affected villages in Nalgonda, Telangana. I am thirsty as hell and would do anything to find a seemingly elusive little glass of water, but I can’t.
Farhanuddin was just five years old when a pain in his knee began bothering him. It was 2013. Slowly, his legs began to change shape. They got so badly deformed that it began to affect his everyday life. He was gloomy and tired most times and had trouble walking.
"A job isn’t just a job. It’s who you are". That quote seems to define the five people who are being honoured for their extraordinary dedication in ensuring water to the people in Nagaon and the newly declared Hojai district of Assam.
"When I wake up in the morning, I feel like a normal person, but when I get up, I realize that I cannot walk properly. I feel like running but I cannot", laments Md. Manik Uddin. This isn't unique to just Manik. Many others of Tapatjuri village in Nagaon, Assam feel the same.
The monsoon brings with it water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery, which cause suffering and death. Although this is a recurring theme annually, not enough measures are taken to prevent this. The state of Assam decided to take some action in May of this year.