Live Coverage Day 17 – Mumbai to Ahmedabad
The rally set out on its journey from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, or Amdavad to those in the know, the former capital of Gujarat and the largest city in this state. We left at the break of dawn, and at the outset what was supposed to be a 500 km, 9 hour journey took over 14 hours, due to supporters all along that kept stopping Sadhguru to receive him, listen to him and take his blessings.
80 km before Surat, the textile kingdom of India, we took a slight detour off NH-8 for what we understood as our breakfast stop. But it turned out to be one of the most unique stops we have made so far. The township is built around the chemical manufacturing units that have been operating since Sep 15, 1947 - an easy date to remember being so close to the date India gained her independence.
Although the chemical factories are their main subsistence, this town has always given a lot of importance to the environment. This was very evident even as we entered the little lane off the highway which was under a canopy of trees. The moisture levels and freshness in the air were noticeably higher. The venue for the stop was Atul Vidyalaya, the only school in this small town. Children had lined up on either side of the driveway holding posters of "Save Our Rivers" to welcome Sadhguru. And a choir of young girls each holding a poster with a major river name sang the "Nadi Stuti" as Sadhguru made his entry.
Sadhguru then planted a date tree that had been developed in a tissue culture lab – part of a recent business started in this town. These date palms are carefully selected from Basra, Iraq which is well-known for superior quality dates. By bringing these varieties, they hope to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the desert regions such as parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. After the seedlings are imported, they are cultured locally and distributed to the farmers. With already 5000 acres under successful date palm plantation, they hope to increase this in the near future. The date palms have also proven to prevent further desertification, which is a situation that Rally For Rivers aims to address.
Another noteworthy aspect of this town is that they not only nurture their environment but also protect their trees aggressively. A resident of the town said that they had to get permission even to pluck a branch of a tree. This is certainly something to look up to.
After this, Sadhguru engaged in a brisk game of badminton with Sunil Lalbhai, Executive Director, Atul. He then had a breakfast meeting with the proprietors of Atul, as the rest of us had our breakfast and left.
A funny little incident took place when Sadhguru was told he would receive progress updates about his tree. He casually remarked "Forget the updates, just send me the dates!"
The Dandiya Capital Welcomes Sadhguru
Vadodara, or Baroda as it is also commonly known, left no stone unturned in the grand reception they had organized for Sadhguru. Be it the music, the dance, the food, the decorations or the venue itself, everything just spelt grandeur in this cultural capital of Gujarat.
After Sadhguru was received in true Gujarati fashion, he addressed an audience which included the mayor, police commissioner, the municipal commissioner, and several folks from the business community of Vadodara.
Sadhguru spoke about leaving rich soil and abundant water for future generations as this is the best inheritance we can give them.