The Mood, Excitement, and Adrenalin of Leg 1 of Rally for Rivers – A Recap

Here’s a recap of the rally

Week 1 of the Rally for Rivers has gone by in a breathless blur. Was it only last week that we flagged off in Coimbatore?! Yes, indeed, the calendar says so.

Leaving Coimbatore on Sept 3, the Rally made its way to the temple town of Madurai, on the banks of the sacred river Vaigai. After a vibrant session at the Gandhi Memorial Museum, we wound our way to Kanyakumari. The group went to the iconic Vivekananda Rock for inspiration and blessing. That evening’s session was a beautiful one on the seaside, and Kanyakumari was really fired up to do its best for the campaign.

We then moved into Kerala, to the state’s capital Tiruvananthapuram, bang in the middle of Onam celebrations, and were greeted with a vibrant cultural extravaganza. The city’s art street had a display of paintings on rivers, performances of various folk forms and a Rally for Rivers procession. Sadhguru met the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Kerala became the first state to come on board the massive Rally for Rivers campaign.

We then made our way to Trichy, to the banks of the Kaveri, which was a farmer-dominated meeting. Agricultural experts offered their views on the importance of reviving rivers, new methods and technologies for the management of rivers, crops, pests and water sources.

We then entered the small state of Puducherry where the group enjoyed the juxtaposition of cultures in the former French colony. The morning meeting on the beach was a great success. The Chief Minister Thiru V Narayanasamy said something interesting. He recalled his work in the Rajiv Gandhi ministry 25 years ago and said that they had something like this planned but could never get it off the ground because there were too many diverse people who could not be brought on the same platform. This is precisely the challenge that Sadhguru is aiming to meet, by getting people from various political parties to overcome their differences and stand together for a common cause, for the well being of future generations. For Puducherry in particular, Sadhguru suggested to the CM that the state must aim to become a demo state for the rest of the country to emulate on the issue of water management.

From Puducherry, the Rally moved into the state of Karnataka with two vibrant sessions in Mysuru and Bengaluru. The morning in Mysore was devoted to farmer interactions on the banks of Kaveri. Sadhguru asked them to create a Kaveri Belt Farmers’ Association that was not divided by language or state. He told them that their focus should not be who gets how much water but how much water should flow in Kaveri.

Sep 8:

The journey from Puducherry to Mysuru which would have usually taken Sadhguru six hours took double the time because of the huge response to the Rally on the road. Students and supporters waved placards by the highway, gathering near toll booths and other places. The convoy was greeted with so much enthusiasm, Sadhguru had to make as many as twelve unscheduled stops to address the crowds!
The bigger events in Karnataka were both high octane with music and art performances. Aneesh Vidyashankar fiddled his way into the Nadi Stuti in Mysuru and speed painting by Vilas Nayak enthralled crowds on both days. Amidst rousing cheers and applause, the Hon Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Siddaramaiah and Sadhguru announced the signing of an MoU that Isha Foundation would be providing assistance and consultancy in planting 25 crore saplings across Karnataka. The CM declared that he and his government were fully on board Sadhguru’s Rally for Rivers campaign.

With the first leg of the campaign done, that’s 3 states down, 13 more to go! Rally on, Rally for Rivers!