Most events that have dotted the Rally for Rivers journey so far have taken place in sweltering heat. In a way, the heat and thirst remind us of how harsh nature can be and how foolish we have been in denuding our world of trees.

The Vijayawada event was a huge success. Taking place in the grounds of Chaitanya College, it had thousands of students and Rally supporters attending. Music band Threeory along with singer Smitha, performed a sophisticated composition called ‘Nadi, nadi, nadi.’ in another novel presentation, sand artist Venugopal drew with sand an emotional picture of the state of our rivers and our farmers.

Apart from the Chief Minister, a few of his ministers and other legialators, the event was graced by Dr Rajendra Singh, the water expert popularly nicknamed ‘the water man of India’.

Speaking first he said, “I support this decision to revive Indian rivers with all my heart.” He spoke feelingly about rivers and said that a river had rights too: the land it flows on belongs to it alone. It also has the right to its environmental flow and deserved to be worshipped and kept clean.

Among those who spoke briefly were Members of Parliament, Kesineni Nani and Hari Babu; Minister for Water Resources Management,
Devineni Uma Maheshwara Rao; and BJP MLA Kamineni Srinivas Rao.

After Sadhguru had spoken about the dire status of our rivers and the need for the Rally, CM Chandrababu Naidu said, “This is holy endeavour. I am fully committed to this policy that is being proposed. We will do whatever is needed. In fact, Andhra Pradesh will be the first to work on its execution, we will be a ‘model state’ that will inspire others.” He also administered a pledge to all present, and everyone took the vow: “I recognize that water resources are important for every life form and all creatures. I will save rivers to bring about a drought-free state.”