It is one of the most incredulous reasons for marrying several wives but the men of the parched village of Dengalmal in Thane district of western Maharashtra state in India believe this is the best solution to the household water crisis.
With the village in drought for years, the wives in the village are getting sick from having to line up for hours, even in the dead of night, just to fetch water from the very limited wells in the area. Without assistance from the government, the village was not able to create more wells or find new sources of water.
In a bid to solve this crisis, the men are getting additional wives – dubbed as “water wives” – so that someone could fetch water for their homes while they are working and the first one is busy with the household chores. Yes, the “solution” is rather strange and frowned upon even in India where polygamy is a crime yet the villagers claim they have no other choice.
For example, 66-year-old Sakharam Bhagat only had one wife when the water crisis began. Working as farm laborer, he had no time to fetch water from the well which was not only far from his home but also had long queues. Instead, it was his wife Tuki who would go to the well. But because she also had to deal with housework, especially cooking and taking care of the kids, it soon became apparent that the house would have to live without water.
So, Sakharam took a second wife whose sole role is to fetch water.
However, spending too long waiting under the sun or in the cold of night for her turn at the well took its toll on Sakri. Thus, Sakharam was forced to get an additional wife. He revealed that it was his second and third wives who have been providing for the household’s water requirements for over 15 years now! Meanwhile, Tuki (the first wife) is in charge of the cooking.
They all live in the same house though the wives have separate rooms.
“I know that having two or more wives is a crime. But we don’t have water and there is no one else to fetch water for us. The government is doing wrong by not providing water to us. So I also committed a crime by marrying three wives for water.” – Sakharam Bhagat
Source: ABS-CBN News