26. Thousands of people were actively involved in the Water Preservation Project. How did you involve these people in this ambitious and important project?

For many years a large number of people have been moving from villages to cities. There has been a continuous flow of villagers leaving the village. They have been moving to the city in order to earn their living. There was a village with a population of 5000. More than 50% people were very ambitious and moved to the city with an intense desire and ambition to accumulate more money. The remaining people were satisfied with what they had and so they were not ready to accept the new progressive ideas about the development of the village. Generally a village was split into 2 political groups. An atmosphere of disharmony and distrust prevailed in the village. If a person wanted to do some nice work for the welfare or development of the village, people would look at him with distrust and were inclined to believe that his work was motivated by some selfish motive! In such an environment of distrust and disharmony it was a very challenging task to unite the people in the development work. An idea struck my mind that villagers who had settled in the city would be able to unite the village people. As they were financially sound, they would be able to give monetary support. They would be able to generate an atmosphere of trust and unity. Moreover village people are inclined to have a positive attitude to those villagers. They believe that these people have made their own life happy and comfortable, so they intensely desire to make the people of their own native village also happy. The villagers have absolute faith in their intentions. Considering all these points I decided that we should contact those villagers settled in the cities; we should awaken in their harts a feeling of love and concern for their own native village; we should try to involve them in the development of their native village. If a village was small, about 200 people settled in surat, gathered together and if it was a big village, about 3000 people settled in Surat gathered together.

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                   Villagers settled in Surat have given an outstanding contribution to the success of the Water Preservation Project. 80% people of Saurashtra have settled in Surat. More than 12 lac people, involved in the diamond-business or some other business are staying in Surat. We organized a number of various programmes in order to instil into their hearts a sense of responsibility for their native village. We awakened their feelings of love and concern for their native village. In 1999 we made continuous and collective efforts to contact 3 lac people of Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat settled in Surat and to appeal to them to join in this huge Water Preservation Project. Our workers went from society to society distributing a booklet giving information about water preservation and got the forms filled up to involve all these people in the Project. 3 lac people of Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat filled up the forms and became the members of this Project. A huge assembly was organized in the presence of the then Chief Minister Shri Keshubhai Patel and other renowned personalities. In this huge assembly organized by Saurashtra Jaldhara Trust, all the members, willing to join in the Project, remained present. It was the world’s first assembly that was organized to solve the problem of water. Those who were present in the assembly promised the Government that they would go from village to village in order to form village committees for the Water Preservation Project. They would unite all the people belonging to different classes or societies. They took a vow to launch a Water Preservation Project in all the villages. Shri Keshubhai Patel, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat congratulated those lacs of people for getting involved in this noble work. He was full of praise for Saurashtra Jaldhara Trust and the noble work done by the Trust. Lacs of workers formed village committees in their own villages. I also called meetings of the Project in more than 3000 villages.  Water Preservation Project village committees got activated in each and every village and along with them the people of the village also got actively involved in the Project.

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                  Every human being is born with an instinct of benevolence. We were successful in awakening that feeling of kindness in the people. We explained to them the infinite benefits of the project in a very effective way. Every worker then considered the Project as a YAGYA of BENEVOLENCE and felt very happy as God had chosen them to get involved in this YAGYA OF SERVICE OF MANKIND. With the help and co-operation of these lacs of people, innumerable programmes such as meetings, marches, camps and assemblies were organized in Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat. All these programmes were made successful by the dedicated efforts of those workers. To give a boost to such programmes, many leading and renowned persons were invited to remain present. In 2002 an enormously huge assembly SAMMELAN -, was organized in Surat in the presence of the then Chief Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi and Shri Morari Bapu. The place where this assembly wae organized is known even today as the Water Revolution Maidan. This maidan is located in Varachha area. Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Morari Bapu gave a tremendous boost to the workers’ enthusiasm and strength. We continued organizing such programmes in Surat along with Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat. These programmes were successful as they were organized and managed by the combined efforts of both cities and villages. In all these programmesmany political leaders, ministers and officers related to  Water and Irrigation, a number of social leaders, big industrialists belonging to different cities remained present and thus gave a boost to workers’ and organisers’ strength, enthusiasm and dedication. If the programme was on a very large scale, the respectable Chief Minister himself would grace the programme with his presence. The presence of all thesegreat, renowned personalities gave a tremendous boost to the workers’and organisers’ strength, enthusiasm and dedication.

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                  Moreover in 2001 Shri Anna Hazare stayed with us in a 12-day tour across Saurashtra. Megasaysay Award Winner Shri Rajendranath Sisodiya came all the way from Aravalli, Rajasthan to grace our programme with his presence. Even the great Environmentalist Mrs. Menaka Gandhi also remained present in one programme. Such great persons have tried to make the Project successful by remaining present in these programmes. Moreover all the workers related to the Project should be appreciated; their suggestions should be respected and welcomed; their problems should be solved. In this way we tried to keep up their enthusiasm and sincerity.