The dummy well is a reminder to the days when this place used to be the epicenter of the village. Woman would come to fetch water. They would loiter around for hours gossiping and exchanging news. This place provided succor to the occasional outsider who would stop here to wash and to have a drink or even a meal of sattu.
Before the well was built, there used to be a pond here that served as a source of water and daily sanitary requirements for the villagers. There were frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases in those times. A policy decision was taken to dig deep wells in the whole region so that people could get safe water and the pond was replaced by a well.
All was well for some years and then people started suffering from black-foot disease and various types of cancers. The experts came examined the water and declared that it was unsafe as it contained arsenic .
The well was filled up and slabbed. And this sham-well was built for ritualistic reasons. The nearest source of water is now more than 5 Kms away. All who could go, migrated to other places.
The sick occasionally come here to collect the pink flowers that are claimed to have healing properties for many of the diseases villagers developed because of arsenic contamination of water.
PS – Unfortunately this could be true for thousands of villages across eastern India and Bangladesh.
Sattu is a grounded mixture of roasted grams and cereals that can be eaten with salt or sugar mixed in plain water or milk made in to solid balls or a more fluid consistency. In olden time people used to carry it tied at one end of the dhoti or the gamchaa ie shoulder cloth. It is the original fast food that does not need any cooking and has a very long shelf life.