Total 80% of water is used in agriculture. So it is the village people who should try to understand the importance of water and its preservation; only then the project can be successful. Whenever I hold a meeting in a village, a large number of people remain present. When an officer involved with this Water Preservation Project, gave a lecture, at least 50 % of his words were in English. While such a lecture was going on, I would read the faces of the people gathered over there. The expressions on their faces made it clear that they were not able to understand, accept or imbibe the views expressed through the lecture. The blank expressions on the people’s faces made it clear that they had not understood anything. After the meeting dispersed, I asked the elders present in the meeting if they could follow the lecture. They humbly replied that they could hear the lecture clearly but they could not understand a word of it as the language was too difficult and different. The farmers of the village use 80% of water. They can save a large amount of water. But if these farmers cannot understand the details of the Water Preservation Project, if they can’t realize the importance of water storage, the Water Preservation Project can never be successful. That is the reason why I had made up my mind from the very beginning that I should speak in the language of the farmer. I talked in their own language only. I would say to them, “How much improvement have we made in our life during the last 100 years? 100 years ago we used to enjoy the wedding ceremonies for 3 days. The boy’s parents used to take out the wedding procession in a bullock cart, stay at the girl’s place for 3 days and enjoy 6 meals. The wedding custom has totally changed. The boy’s parents take out the wedding procession in a luxury bus, take a meal and return in the evening! This is how a wedding ceremony takes place. In the past all the people from the boy’s side would take their seats in a row- PANGAT-. When they were served food, some elderly person would respectfully invite them to start taking their meal. Today all of us have selected a buffet meal! This change has been accepted by us. In the past lady had to veil her face before coming in front of a man older than her husband. Now that custom is no longer observed by the ladies. Daughters-in law have acquired a right to move about freely like the daughters of the family. There is a lot of change in our dressing styles. In a nutshell, everything has changed-dressing has changed; customs have changed; but one thing that has remained changeless is our method of using water. It is a 100 -year old method! 100 years ago we used to draw water from the well by means of a leather bucket – KOS- and that water would fall into the “basin of the well”-THAL-. From this THAL water went to the KYARI through “water course”-DHORIYA-and the water was poured into the land. Today diesel machines or submersible motors are used to draw water from the well. This water falls into the basin of the well-THAL-. From this THAL it goes into the KYARI through DHORIYO-“water course”- and then this water is poured into the land. Today the population has been increasing by leaps and bounds; the area of land to be irrigated has increased; the demand for water has multiplied but we are still using the old DHORIYO and KYARO!! It must change.
I used to give the example of Israel. Both Israel and India got independence almost at the same time. Israel is a desert land. The intellectuals of Israel said to the farmers, “Our country is a desert. If we want to change it into an agricultural country, we must forget and get rid of the old methods of irrigation such as DHORIYO and KYARO. Instead we have to irrigate the field by “Drop Irrigation”-TAPAK SINCHAI-. This is how the farmers of Israel started supplying their farms with water by TAPAK SINCHAI. Today Israel has the reputation of an agricultural country. Our farmers must adopt this Drop Irrigation-method because in this way our agricultural produce will be multiplied. The village will be green, the farmers will be rich. With a remarkable rise in the agricultural produce of the village, not only all the farmers of the village but also other workers, carpenters, tailors, and shop-keepers will earn a better income. Consequently the economy of the whole nation will be strengthened. The standard of living will go up. All the people of the nation will be rich and live a comfortable life. The honour of the nation will get a boost. Water –Preservation can usher in a very great revolution and the credit for that great revolution will definitely go to the farmers. So my farmer friends preserve each and every single drop of water. Build field-ponds, build a series of check-dams in the brooks, canals and rivers and construct ponds at proper places. All the people should brush aside all the petty differences and disputes and be determined to give a ‘GREEN HERITAGE’ to the future generation. If a solitary farmer tries to carry out the work of water –preservation, the water-level will not come up. What is required is that a village-committee should be formed to carry out this massive, marathon activity. This committee should unite all the villagers together and then make collective efforts to carry out water-preservation activities. It should be the duty of the committee to collect funds from the farmers in proportion to the number of VINGHS of land they own and try to get the benefit of the Government’s projects of water-preservation. This is how I continued talking about the water-preservation mission for about 1.5hour. I also narrated to them the examples of other villages that were successful in launching and completing the project efficiently. After convincing them about the importance of the project or mission, I would ask them a simple question-
“How many of you are willing to get involved in such water-preservation activities?”
In the twinkling of an eye each and every person would raise both the hands to show their willingness to join in the mission. Then I would tell them about the sincere and huge co-operation given by the technical staff of SAURASHTRA JALDHARA TRUST and the JCB machines of the Trust. I would also assure them that they would also get the benefits of the Government’s schemes. Moreover many villages had their business in cities and were earning handsomely. I promised the village people that we would contact those rich people and appeal to them to extend their help and co-operation. Lastly, I would ask them to take a vow to make ceaseless and tireless efforts to complete the Water Preservation Project efficiently and successfully. Thus the Project was launched in a large number of villages. Many people of the village got involved in it. They not only launched and completed the project in their own village but also motivated other villages to launch a similar project. All these efforts should mainly be done by the farmers as it is the farmer who uses 80% of water for agriculture. So it is the farmer who should understand the importance of water and it is the farmer who should do water-management. As I expressed my views in the farmers’ own language, it was easier to communicate with them and it was easier to convince them.