Zaffar is a Muslim Afghan born in Bihar. His family fled Afghanistan after the Russians invasion in 1978. Zaffar currently lives in Kolkata, where he manages his own sports-based nonprofit. Through Rubgy, he helps kids bond across cultural and communal lines. Zaffar wants to continue to bridge these identity divides through community media.
Bhisti Community, who used to provide water to Kolkata’s inhabitants, is slowly disappearing.
Zaffar recently noticed that 'Bhisti' people, who used to bring water to his workshop and to other local shops in the area, have vanished. “I roamed around the city, looking for them, but I encountered only a small number of these people. Ten years back they were everywhere, but now they have almost disappeared.”, said Zaffar. The Bhisti community used to provide water to nearly the entire city, carrying it in a 20 litres bag made of goat skin. Although they were a Muslim community, 'Bhistis' still provided water to both Non-Muslims and Muslims across the city.
Bhistis are slowly shifting jobs, most of them usually going back to farming or other manual labor jobs, because their traditional occupation of water-carriers does not enable them to make a decent living anymore. “Water supply has steadily increased in the city, the number of taps have sharply risen up, so people do not need water from the Bhistis anymore” explained Zaffar.
However, water supply remains irregular and unreliable. Thus, the 'Bhistis' still retain their role in certain areas of the city, providing 14 to 17 people per day. Zaffar hopes that the 'Bhistis' do not vanish completely from the city and that this practice will be kept alive
Inspiration can come from many sources, but one of the most powerful is seeing someone walk the path before you. Our Community Correspondent, Syed Amir Abbas found his inspiration in Stalin K., the founding director of Video Volunteers. “I met Stalin at VV’s national meet in 2017 and I...
Avijit Adhikary is a journalist with nearly 8000 days of field experience till date. In the past two decades, he has witnessed the ebb and flow of the media industry in India, with ripples felt in his region too. This includes the rise of digital media, the decline of print...