23. How much speed did the water preservation mission gather after the yatra across Saurashtra was over? What did the people start discussing?

23After ‘the YATRA across Saurashtra’ was over, the water preservation project gathered incredible speed. We got many workers in a number of villages. Programmes like this YATRA can bring an awakening among the people and raise an awareness of the importance of water preservation. In 1998, 4 years before the YATRA, we had launched an 8 days’ march from Bhimdad village of Bodad taluka to Bhadrod village of Mahua taluka. This YATRA also got a wonderful response. We have very frequently done 2-3 days marches. All these marches or YATRAS aimed to raise awareness in the people-an awareness of the importance of water and its preservation. We had no selfish interest to fulfil. It was a purely selfless effort to raise an awareness of the importance of water and its preservation. It was in the interest of all the villages and of the whole nation that people went on a march from village to village. Naturally when people realize the noble selfless intentions of the marchers, they are touched and impressed. When they realize that the motive of the march is our genuine desire to raise an awareness of the importance of water, they have a feeling of honour and appreciation for the marchers. The selfless and noble objectives of this YATRA cultivate in their hearts a positive attitude for the YATRA. Hence they willingly gave a good response. The YATRA also got a wide media coverage. Its news and the message it conveyed spread far and wide and reached every nook and corner of the village. People of the village started talking and discussing among them selves,” Saurashtra Jaldhara Trust has started a YATRA. Its participants have no selfish interest or motive. They are not asking for our votes. Their genuine and intense desire is that we all should get united and constructs check dams, ponds and field ponds to stop the water from flowing away and store it properly. We should make this collected water to seep into the land and thus raise the water level in the village. This is an appeal they are making to us. It is very obvious and clear that these activities are in the interest of the village and its people. They are appealing to us to get united, forgetting all the old grudges against one another. We must accept their appeal. These marchers have put their own business aside and placed this awareness-mission at the top of their agenda. Many of them are big businessmen and factory owners. They have been walking from village to village without caring for their own comfort or rest. The only target that they have before their eyes is generating and raising awareness in us- an awareness of the importance of water and its preservation. These marchers’ tireless dedicated efforts are sure to generate a big revolution.” This is what the people of all the villages were discussing among themselves.

                 What I want to say is that a march or YATRA launched with noble sentiments and selfless motives is sure to get a tremendous response from the people; it is sure to reap benefits galore. Gandhiji’s Dandi march had served a similar purpose in India’s struggle for freedom. It had not only awakened the people of India but also equipped them with unyielding determination and unflinching courage. Our water preservation YATRA also reaped rich rewards for us.