Live Coverage Day 18 - Rally For Rivers, Ahmedabad
A Day at the banks of Gujarati Ganga
The legend is that Shiva brought the goddess Ganga to Gujarat and that is how the Sabarmati river came into being. For many on the Rally for Rivers, waking up on the banks of auspicious Sabarmati in Ahmedabad had been mesmerizing experience. On Sep 20th morning, while a few stayed back in their hotel rooms to recuperate from several sleep deprived nights, most ventured out to merge with this land of festivity, rich culture and, of course, the biggest assortment of food – the Gujarati thali.
Sabarmati Ashram: The Pride of Ahmedabad
Stepping on the land where Gandhiji had walked, and where many other legendary freedom fighters had met to discuss and design the very framework of independent India, was an overwhelming experience for the Ralliers.
As soon as Sadhguru entered the premises, the trustees of the Sabarmati ashram felicitated him with a garland made of hand-spun khadi threads, a traditional, signature feature of the place. Sadhguru paid keen attention to every little detail of the place – the artifacts and historic documents laid out for the ashram visitors. After seeing Sadhguru spinning the wheels of a road zipper for 5,500 km in just 15 days, it was a poignant moment to see him sit down on Gandhi’s Charkha and gently spin the threads. “It felt like as if time had also rested for a few minutes,” shared a volunteer.
Sadhguru too, humbly wrote a few beautiful lines describing his experience of this historic place in the guest book.
Group Visit to Adalaj Stepwell – A Historic Symbol of Indo-Islamic Culture
Unlike Sabarmati ashram, very few outside Ahmedabad may know about this amazing icon of Indian history and the exquisiteness of our architecture and town planning. Built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai, Adalaj Stepwell – or simply, Stepwell or vav (in Gujarati), is an octagonal water well with hundreds of steps that weave through five stories of beautifully carved pillars, walls and roofs.
There is beautiful moving story behind this harmonious fusion of intricate Islamic floral patterns and Hindu and Jain symbolism. The legend says: Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty was attacked by Mohammed Begda, and was killed. Mohammed occupied the place and asked Rana Veer Singh’s beautiful widow known as Rani Roopba to marry him. She agreed to do so on the condition that he would first complete the building of the Stepwell. The Muslim king was deeply enamored with the queen’s beauty that he completed the work in record time so he could marry the Rani soon. But the queen had planned something else altogether; she went to the completed Stepwell, invited many saints to take a bath in it to purify it, and then jumped into it, ending her life. Bageda, though broken-hearted and feeling deceived, allowed the well to remain in all its glory without defacing it.
At the Adalaj Stepwell’s lawns, the rally participants found some innocent, unsuspecting people comfortably snoozing on the grass. And so, with their unquenchable enthusiasm, they woke them up and made them make missed calls!
8,000 Amdavadis Gathered to Support Rally for Rivers
Thousands of people turning up for Sadhguru’s second-ever public program in the city was the result of the untiring efforts of a small team of local volunteers. Though the meditator volunteer base is less than a dozen, they enrolled many more non-meditators to join in their efforts to spread awareness. Below are a few amazing feats by this Ahmedabad group:
- Conducted missed call campaigns in 75 schools, where children went out to have people make calls. Some little children managed to get even 400 people to call in just a week.
- Printed 50,000 paper cups with the RFR logo and gave them to local chaiwalas.
- Made presentations in virtual classrooms of government schools that inspired 50 lakh childrenchildren to pledge their support.
- Inspired the Gujarat University management to pass the info on RFR through SMS, and this small act led to 4.5 lakh students and teachers pledging for the cause.
This event was in many ways a showcase of the dedication and commitment of these volunteers and a precious moment for them to soak in the presence of the Master.
Parthiv Gohil, the famous Gujarati pop singer, delighted the audience with some peppy Gujarati numbers with folk dancers tapping to his tunes. He also gave a soulful rendition of the Nadi Stuti skillfully interspersed with Hindi lyrics. The distinguished dignitaries present with Sadhguru on the dais were: actor Manoj Joshi, National Award Winner; Farmer Jenabhai Patel, Padmashri Awardee; the Hon'ble Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama; and the Hon'ble CM of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani. The highlight of the event was the exchange of an MoU signed by the government of Gujarat with Isha Foundation for the afforestation of the state and revival of its rivers.
Finally, at 8 pm, at the Banks of Sabarmati, the Rally for Rivers’ mega event concluded gloriously. It was from this place, the Mahatma set out for the Dandi March in 1930, which was the first step towards the freedom movement. Today in 2017, Rally for Rivers marched out from here to another 8 states, to conclude the first step towards the “Save Our Rivers” movement on Oct 2, on Mahatama’s Jayanti Day.
Off to Indore…