The man who revived a river in Rajasthan
Rajendra Singh, born in 1959 in a family of zamindars is considered the water man of India. He lives and breathes by the element has for years helped the nation develop great success.
Let me take you back to a time where there was no river in Rajasthan or what was once a river was dried out and non-existent. In 1985, when Mr. Singh first went there, he noticed there were only paths that were strewn with rocks. There was no river in sight but he didn’t take an initiative until he met a patient who encouraged him to do something.
Rajendra opened a small Ayurvedic practice in Gopalapura and there was a day when he was treating a man with night blindness. The man was called Mangu. He opened Rajendra’s eyes to the scarcity of water and recommended trying the ancient tradition of Johads which are earthen dams that help conserve rain water and helps accumulate ground water.
The idea was quite brilliant which is why RAjendra proceeded with tit and decided to build an earthen dam himself along the river’s source. If it weren’t for the help of the village communities, the perennial river would’ve remained what it was i.e. dry.
After the 375th dam was dug, the river began to flow again and by 1995 the river became perennial again. Today, the same river reaches and sustains at least 1200 villages and if it weren’t of the help from the community and Mangu’s idea, most villages would still have no water supply or the potential to grow vegetation.
Rajendra Singh or the Waterman of India is a proud holder of the Magsaysay award and Stockholm Water Prize. In 2008, he was named the man who could save the planet by the Guardian and he is also on the path to help India educate itself about water.
His son is also a proud representative of his father’s NGO and is following the same footsteps to help keep the water supply intact. If it weren’t for this man’s efforts, imagine where the people of Rajasthan would be today.
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