Seventy percent of the earth is covered with water but hardly a drop to drink. One of the most important resources available on our planet earth is becoming scarce. In spite of all this, we hardly show any concern towards water conservation. Where in today’s world people mostly in cities can be termed as careless water users but we have this one man who has given almost 30 years of his life and has brought water back to regions which have been dry for years. Man who sacrificed his secure government job and decided to serve people for the rest of hs life runs a non-governmental organization, Tarun Bharat Sangh who has build johads, check dams and many other traditional methods that turned out to be one of the most successful methods in reviving 5 major rivers of Rajasthan which has brought water back to over 1000 villages. Not only water he has also worked on other major issues like women empowerment, sustainable development and has taken measures towards forest protection by filing a PIL for the ban of illegal mining that continued for a long time. If this was less well then he has been an international water hero for quite some time now, winner of Magsaysay award and recently winning the Stockholm prize for his contribution to water conservation.
It was my first meeting with him and I realised how conveniently we lay on the couch in front of television and blame our political system for everything that happens in our country but he has a rosy outlook for majority of the things, the the reason being that people like him are the ones who are actually working out there at the ground level and enjoying a sense of contentment by serving others. Sitting on his favourite chair and a book in his hand, while taking the first sip of his morning tea the bearded man with the reposeful face says the country would progress more if we criticise less and find alternatives to help the fellow citizens who are in need. Hats off to water warriors like him and his entire team who chose to serve a noble cause. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of TBS as a volunteer and get the first-hand experience as to how things work here. Some of the works done by TBS can be seen below-:
This is the agriculture farming which is taking place in the village where TBS has worked efficiently. The area had hardly any rainfall this year and monsoon was late still they have managed to conserve water for this year. Green chillies and coriander are grown here.
This is the anicut, one of the major works done by TBS. It helps in preventing the conservation of rain water. The water is blocked due to anicut and slowly it turns into ground water. Anicut not only conserve water for farmers for future use but also makes the soil fertile and provide water living organisms present deep inside the soil.
A small well sort of a thing which has holes inside that are blocked with stones. During rainfall when the water overflows in this, they remove the stones so that he water goes into the agricultural land.
Famous johad, another great structure built by TBS. It stores collected during rainy season so that it can be used for animal or human consumption throughout the year. It is made up of anything from dirt and stone to concrete.
They say a French lady waited for hours to capture sunbathing buffalos and, unfortunately, had to return but when I visited I was lucky enough to click them.
This the present project was taken up by TBS. TBS believes in the concept of self-reliance. Where villagers on their own come together as laborers in order to complete the task. Currently, they are working on the construction of Anicut for their agriculture field.
They all have come together in order to conserve water and make it sustainable to protect their fields.One of the major reasons behind the success of TBS is that they have involved locals and acted as facilitators and provided them with funds in order to make structures all across villages for water conservation. The concept of self-reliance pretty much worked in their favour.
It’s great to see how villagers have shown blind faith on TBS and vice versa and that’s the reason they have come so far with whatever they have achieved today. Things do not stop here the village is much more advanced compared to other villages. Hardly any houses that are badly constructed and children both girls and boys are going to schools and some are involved in higher education. I met so many women who are working and engaged in some kind of work other than household to get an extra income for the house. Apart from water conservation, the villagers are involved in environment conservation as well. In addition, to this, they have been really efficient in coping with social stigmas usually common in remote areas.
After speaking to few more villagers I exactly now know the reasons behind his heroic image and the love they hold for their waterman. Rajendra Singh Ji’s work is exactly implemented the same way it is shown in books and newspapers. Once you see it through your eyes you will definitely believe in the amount of hard work and efforts he has put in. My experience with TBS was great and once I leave from here I definitely have a different approach towards the water. It’s not just a water which we use daily negligently it’s the most important resource which is depleting day by day. Farmers who should have access to water the most are the ones who suffer due to water crises. It’s high time we realize that 60% of India’s population is involved in agriculture that provides food to the whole nation. If they lack water it will somewhere be affecting us indirectly. The government should take measures in order to combat farmer’s suicide and I strongly feel that just like LPG water should be provided to farmers as a subsidized resource. Also, there should be proper water laws that impose a penalty in case of its breach.
I was here for 6 days and my stay was very comfortable and peaceful surrounded by nature. It’s a home away from home but the only difference is you don’t miss your home and once you’re here you will surely suffer from withdrawal symptoms the moment you leave this place. I can’t wait to visit this place again. lastly here are some pictures taken during my stay at the ashram.