Situated at the base of Rohida Fort is the village of Bajarwadi (in Bhor district, Maharashtra) where lives a community of less than a couple of thousand farmers. Jowar (Indian millet), best suited for Deccan Plateau, and rice are grown in great abundance by farmers of the village.
In winters, day begins at six for the women. After spending the entire morning doing household chores, just before noon, they head to their farms with these essentials – a shirt, often borrowed from the husband, to use as a jacket to shield themselves from the blazing sun as they work in their fields, lunch packed in a small tiffin box and a bottle of water.
The farms are located far from the village, some more than 3 kms away, and most use dirt paths to get there.
Since jowar requires little to no upkeep, the bulk of work in the Rabi cropping season arises from cultivating land to grow wheat, chickpea and groundnuts.
It isn’t unusual to see homemade contraptions being used to make back-breaking work such as pulling weed out easier.
For everyone in the village, what they grow is what they eat. Vegetables straight from farms often exchange hands between neighbours.
Besides farming, people prepare for monsoons during these months by collecting and storing fodder for cattle.
Farming is a way of life rather than just an occupation, one that generations have shown their allegiance to through changing times in Bajarwadi.
Whether or not the tradition continues, only time will tell.
I was hosted in Bajarwadi by Grassroutes Journeys and this post was made in collaboration with them.
Grassroutes, a national award winning community based rural tourism enterprise, is working with the residents of Bajarwadi to set it up as a destination for sustainable rural tourism. Since most residents of the village are farmers and their income from farming is seasonal, the objective is to generate alternative livelihood for them through tourism. If you wish to know more about Bajarwadi and Grassroutes’ work there, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.