Aamir Khan’s work with Paani Foundation, formed during the making of the TV series Satyamev Jayate, to tackle drought in Maharashtra, is well known. His wife Kiran Rao, too, has joined him off and on during his visits to the state’s many drought-hit villages. Now, Aamir and his team will be taking more than a lakh people across Maharashtra on May 1, which is Maharashtra Day, to help make the state drought-free.
“We are concentrating only on Maharashtra right now and encouraging people to come together and fight the water scarcity problem,” says Aamir. Paani Foundation had instituted the Water Cup, which is essentially a competition between villages to see who can do the maximum work for water conservation. Aamir says, “We teach villages how to manage water and them send them back to their villages to teach the others. In the first year, we worked in three talukas, and 116 villages took part in the Water Cup. In our experiment, 40 to 45 villages did great work, 30 villages did medium work and the rest are trying.”
Would it help if more Bollywood stars came on board? “I have not approached any Bollywood celebrities yet,” says Aamir. So, how does Aamir manage to save water at home? He says, “In my house, we are very strict with water usage. We do not like to waste a single drop of water. Azaad (his youngest son) is also aware of this practice. While brushing his teeth after wetting his brush, he immediately closes the tap until he finishes brushing. We don’t waste water at all.”
What’s happening on May 1?
Aamir says, “We are working in 75 talukas and 4,000 villages. People can come and work for three hours a day. There are two shifts 6 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm. Once you reach the village, a place is marked out with chalk for each group. For example, a 7 member group will have to dig a trench of three feet. One lakh people have already registered.”