Coimbatore, 3 rd August : “This is not a protest. This is not an agitation. This is a
campaign to raise awareness that our rivers are depleting. Everyone who consumes
water must Rally for Rivers” said Sadhguru, Founder of Isha Foundation, while launching a nationwide awareness campaign about the urgency to rejuvenate Indian rivers.
Sadhguru’s tweet :“Everyone who consumes water must #RallyForRivers. Let us make it happen” is a call for action, expressing the urgency of the matter. Our rivers are facing a grave crisis. In just one generation, our perennial rivers have become seasonal. Many smaller rivers have already vanished. If we do not act now to reverse this dire situation, the next fifteen years will see an alarming decline -nearly 50%- in the availability of usable water.
In consultation with Isha Foundation, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has started a mass movement aimed at building awareness and planting trees; among other things; with the aim of rejuvenating the Narmada River. On 1 st July, 2017 Isha Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Government of Maharashtra torejuvenate Godavari River and facilitate plantation of 50 crore trees.
An expert committee of environmental scientists and lawmakers are in the process of drawing up a comprehensive policy document. The draft policy suggests a very simple yet effective means to replenish our rivers - to create a kilometer-wide tree cover on riversides (and half a kilometer for tributaries). Forest trees can be planted on government land, and tree-based agriculture on farm land. This will ensure our rivers are fed throughout the year by the moist soil, and will also reduce floods, drought and soil loss.
The Rally for Rivers is expected to garner support from millions of people by generating missed calls on a toll free number (8000980009) as a mark of people’s support to a comprehensive policy to rejuvenate rivers. A nationwide awareness campaign is underway driven by youth, members of the Panchayats and volunteers of Isha Foundation across India. The campaign will include 21 major events and numerous smaller events, both online and off-line, to touch every segment of society. Rally for Rivers has also started a national short film competition in association with Shekhar Kapur, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Prahlad Kakkar. Entries have been invited by amateurs and professionals to upload a short video on rivers and stand a chance of working with these eminent directors from the film industry.
While educating school children on the need to revive and rejuvenate India’s rivers, several Creative writing and Art competitions have been initiated in over 100,000 schools in India, in partnership with Educomp Solutions, DAV Schools, Vidya Bharati Schools, Camlin and Nickelodeon India. In each of these schools, the Nadi Stuti or the river chant- will be played in the assembly followed by an appeal from Sadhguru and Virender Sehwag.
Rally for Rivers has received an overwhelming response from all walks and segments of the society. The campaign has also been supported by Border Security Force, IFFCO, IRCTC, Karnataka Bank, Retailers Association of India, World Aqua Foundation, Micro Finance associations, Indigo Airlines, DAV Schools, Spic Macay, Educomp Solutions in addition to 30 corporate companies. In what was one of the largest human formations, Sadhguru with over 6000 Isha volunteers came together in the shape of India’s map on 9 th July to launch the campaign.
Celebrities from all walks of life – leaders of various political parties, religious leaders, Bollywood, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil film actors, Cricketers and Corporate heads, all have pledged their support to Rally for Rivers on Twitter. Dr. Mohan Bhagwat – Chief of RSS retweeted Sadhguru’s tweet saying "We are with you in this mission." Chief Imam
of All India Imam Organisation – Imam Umer Ahmed Iliyasi with his photo with Sadhguru extended his full support and prayed for the noble cause.
Actor Juhi Chawla tweeted supporting Rally for Rivers with an appeal to give a missed call on 80009-80009. Many other eminent personalities like Anupam Kher, Rishi Kapoor, Madhoo, Dia Mirza, Manoj Bajpayee, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Shekhar Kapur, Tanisha Mukherjee, Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor have also expressed their support for the cause.
Malayalam Superstar Mohanlal shared a video of Sadhguru, on Facebook, speaking with school children about Rally for Rivers. He commented, “I was really moved, watching this video that strives to bring awareness of the plight of our rivers in the coming 20 years time. Dear friends, it's time we worked together to revive these lifelines of our very own existence. I request you all to act now and show your solidarity towards this noble campaign. All you need to do is give a missed call to the number 8000980009. Together we shall save our rivers and bring them back.