Daylight to Darkness: The Unlit Truth of Rural India

A single 2-day trip to a village in India was enough to help me put things into perspective. I’ve often wondered when the day will come when India will receive the status of a “developed nation”. After all, we have all the modern facilities, we live in air conditioned homes, we have premium medical facilities, bullet trains, expressways, fast growing economies, world-leading fortune 500 companies, and the list goes on. However, step into a village and you’ll find the sequestered truth about India and the conditions under which the majority of the country, 69% to be precise, is living. I went through a typical day in the life of a villager. To see this vast difference between our lives was an eye opening experience.  

Life in the day

A typical day starts even before the rays of the sun hit the ground. In the faint light you’ll find men, women as well as children walking great distances, sometimes as far as 2km, to the nearest water source to fill empty buckets, bottles and large cans with water for use by the family for washing, cleaning, cooking and even drinking.

  • The lucky few who have wells in their premises spend the better part of their morning manually tugging on the ropes to lift the water from the well one bucket at a time.
  • Since majority of the villagers are farmers, their dependency on water is very high, especially for the irrigation of their crops. Men and women alike spend majority of their day tending to their farmlands. During dry seasons, with wells and nearby water bodies barren, there is little they can do but to watch their crops dry up and shrivel before their eyes.
  • While parents tend to business, the children who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get an education find themselves in sub-standard schools that have erratic power supply, if any at all. Staying focused during lectures in itself is hard enough, but doing so in the sweltering heat and bad lighting is practically unimaginable.
  • These are just some problems in a typical day of life in a village. However, the solution is simple – Solar power. Here’s a list of some of the solutions that have already been successfully implemented by Nimbus Solar in various villages across India.

The Solar Solutions

  • Solar-powered rural water transportation – These systems use solar pumps to transport water from different sources over a distance or to a height. These systems have been able to solve water shortage issues in hilly areas that are at altitudes as high as 200m and distances as much as 2 Kms from the water source. Click here to know more:
  • Solar-powered irrigation solutions – Starvation still haunts our nation. In India, the people who do not have enough food to feed their families are, quite ironically, the very same people who supply food to the rest of the nation – our farmers. In an endeavor to protect this section of our society, we have designed and executed several projects to help increase their income and to bring about ease in farming practices. The key to raising their incomes and boosting production to meet the growing demands lies in proper irrigation practices, enhanced organization, for example, community farming, and efficient land utilization. We are attempting to revolutionize farming practices by introducing the power of solar to as many farmers as possible. Solar pumps help in powering drip irrigation systems, in mobilizing natural water sources for irrigation of farm lands, in powering lift irrigation systems etc. Click here to know more:
  • Solar power for schools and colleges – These solutions aim at providing schools with a reliable source of energy during school hours. Schools gain maximum benefit from solar power as they require electricity only during the day, and hence do not need to invest in batteries. Click here to know more:

Life at night

  • The gravity of this glum situation truly strikes once the sun sets. With no access to grid electricity in most of the homes, darkness ensues post 7pm. These homes rely heavily on kerosene lanterns to brighten up an otherwise bleak world. It is then that you truly realize how we city dwellers have taken electricity for granted. The darkness in villages is absolute. It is something you will never be able to experience in a city.
  • The kerosene lamps they use in their homes exude harmful fumes, which when inhaled over long periods of time can cause serious damage to human lungs. Adults and children alike are exposed to these fumes all their lives.
  • The rare instance where a child living in these villages attends school, he/she is unable to study in the evenings due to the dearth of light.
  • Most of these houses do not have toilets. So nature calls at night would require one to walk into the wilderness in the dark with a lantern in hand, which is no short of a scene from a horror film.
  • The absence of fans only adds to the level of discomfort in these rustic homes.
  • The stillness, the lack of movement of air, the lack of light, and the sweltering heat – these are visions of life in a village on a typical night.

The Solar Solutions

  • Even if a government body happens to lay its eyes on these remote villages, the extension of grid electric lines to such great distances can turn out to be a challenging and expensive task. What’s the next best option? Solar energy.
  • In one of the CSR projects carried out by Nimbus, more than 1000 homes in a village were LIT UP by installing the NIMBUS SOLAR HOME LIGHTING KIT. This kit includes a solar panel, 3 LED bulbs, 1 LED tube light, and a DC fan. This simple yet effective project allowed thousands of village dwellers to finally enjoy the simple luxuries of life, by protecting these families from the harmful kerosene fumes, saving on kerosene costs, and providing better light for the children to study after sunset. Click here to know more:
  • To deal with the sanitation and water issue, Nimbus carried out a project with an NGO whereby solar-powered drinking water booths were installed, which provided clean drinking water to all these households. The run-off water from the filtration units were then fed into toilets that were built in these households. This not only safeguarded their hygiene and sanitation but also helped restore the dignity and peace that is rightfully theirs. Click here to know more:

The problems are grave, but the solutions are simple and easily achievable.  Although the Indian government’s efforts towards putting in place infrastructure for electrification deserve a mention, they are not sufficient.  We at Nimbus are committed to making the villages more habitable and providing the villagers the basic amenities that will help them live a life of dignity, respect and comfort. However, we cannot do this alone. We need your help. So let’s join hands and put together our resources and guide India towards development one village at a time.

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