After a successful event in Indore, the rally left for Bhopal this morning. Sadhguru and the volunteers proceeded directly to Bhopal from Indore for this evening's event. The rally participants left earlier and took a detour to Ujjain, where they visited the famed Mahakaleshwar temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
Bhopal has been the epicenter for the rally right from the beginning when the CM of Madhya Pradesh, Hon'ble Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, responded expressly to Sadhguru's call to save our rivers and was the first to set things in motion towards the revival of rivers. For over two months now, rally-related awareness drives have been in full swing, especially from the energetic volunteers here. True to its spirit towards the rally, the minute we entered Bhopal, everywhere we looked we saw posters and banners about the rally. Not a lamp-post or traffic signal stump was spared.
Over 5000 people poured into the Bhopal event venue for the 15th Rally for Rivers event held on 23rd September at the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister's residence. One of the seating coordinators reported that an estimated 1600 people just came without any passes and it was sheer grace that they managed to find extra chairs that had been ordered for some other event to seat the overflow. Apparently even VIPs had shown up in greater numbers than expected and the volunteers had to get very creative in seating them in the best possible way.
The entertainment was kept short and crisp with only one group performing, so as to not shift focus from the real deal of the day - the Rally! Prahlad Tipanya, a local artist who specializes in Kabir bhajans and who some fans refer to as the “Jewel of Malwa”, kept the crowd enthralled with his group and their indigenous and scintillating tunes. Just his second song, a throaty rendition on the significance of rivers, got Sadhguru on his feet, clapping and moving to the rhythms. Without skipping a beat, the crowds also followed suit and the entire hall was in a frenzy.
Wasting no time after the concert concluded, the dais dignitaries took their seats on stage. Uniquely, there was just one person other than Sadhguru on the stage at this rally, and he was the biggest activist of the rally for the state of Madhya Pradesh. It was none other than the Chief Minister himself. Sadhguru lauded him for being the first CM to immediately respond proactively by planting trees on the Narmada riverbanks. A whopping six crore trees were planted in a single day! It was also announced that Jan Abhiyan Parishad, a non-profit organization, in association with Isha volunteers, was going to every village to campaign for missed calls. The Chief Minister openly promised that the entire 7.5 crore strong Madhya Pradesh was backing this cause to save our rivers.
The 23rd of September was significant for the rally in more ways than one, as it also was the anniversary of Sadhguru's Enlightenment. It was a deeply touching moment as he recounted how on the same day and time thirty five years ago, a profound experience changed his life forever.
Towards the end, a woman asked a question comparing Rally For Rivers with the freedom movement and wanted to know whether such a large movement was really necessary. Sadhguru responded that in the case of the freedom movement, the enemy was external, while in this case the enemy is within us. It is not a physical entity that we can fight against, so we need a much larger movement. That is why the entire 130 crore population of India is needed to make this happen.
The night concluded with the invocation of the Nadi Stuti by Sadhguru, after which the crowds dispersed as he proceeded to take on the waiting media. The end of another rally did not disappoint and we have a good feeling that moving forward, the rally is going into an overdrive!