“Every Drop Counts” : An evening with “The Water Man of India”

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By Qayam Masumi, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO, NJ: “Respect Water, Women and River” said Dr Rajendra Singh popularly known as ‘Jal Purush, Waterman of India’ at an event “Every Drop Counts” organized by Gandhian Society and Save Indian Farmers on March 24th 2023 in New Jersey. The event was organized to celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. Rajendra Singh (The Water Man of India) and Jayesh Joshi known for his work in tribal lands of several states in India.

The event began with a felicitation of Dr. Rajendra Singh (Water Man of India), Jayesh Joshi of Vaaghdhara and Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari, the Director of the Institute of Advanced Materials, IAAM (Sweden) and other dignitaries.

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A welcome note by Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh and Mr. Bhadra Bhutala, founder of Gandhian Society, Councilman Nish Patel and Mahesh Wani from Save Indian Farmers. The event focused on the need and approach towards the increasing crisis in the area of water Conservation and Climate change, agriculture and Farming and sustainable measures to address them. The event also addressed the need to support and save Indian farmers along with the emphasis on Gandhian Philosophies on “Swavalamban” or self help. How community participation and community led funding can ensure water security, water sustainability strategies, farming and creating a Self Sustainable Model for all. Born on August 6, 1959, in Dola village, Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Rajendra Singh is a well-known environmentalist and river rejuvenator.

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Dr. Singh’s efforts have received recognition at the international level for his work and contribution towards the issue of water, dams and rivers. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2001 for community leadership, and the Stockholm Water Award, also known as the Nobel Prize for water, in 2015 along with other national and international awards in various countries for his work and achievements. In 2008, The Guardian included him in its list of the world’s 50 people who could save the planet Earth. In addition, he was presented with the Ahimsa Award in 2018 from the House of Commons, United Kingdom, the Earth Repair Award in 2019 from Seattle in the US, and the Prithvi Bhushan Award from New Delhi in 2019. Dr. Singh and his organization Tarun Bharat Sangh, has helped society construct and rejuvenate more than 13800 dams, 13 perennial rivers, and more than two hundred thousands wells.

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His efforts has pulled back rural migration due to drought, famine and flooding in rural India and has reintegrated more than one million farmers and villagers to their homelands. His efforts have secured and replenished more than 1200 water deprived villages. His contributions towards the water and its conditions have helped the researchers and environmentalists working in more than 56 countries to a great extent. He has also contributed to the studies and status of 26 international rivers. In the event, Dr. Singh talked about the ways to protect and rejuvenate rivers and wells and how to construct local dams. He also said that history is testimonial to the fact that no civilization has survived without rivers. there won’t be any civilizations without rivers. Mr. Jayesh Joshi spoke about his amazing contribution towards the tribal people and tribal farming.

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He is instrumental towards promoting the Sustainable Integrated Farming System, among the local farming communities in Rajasthan and adjoining tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The effectiveness of his approach can be measured by the fact that it has encouraged a significant number of farmers, particularly those in remote areas with limited resources, to adopt SIFS practices. Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari, the Director of the Institute of Advanced Materials, shared his journey and contributions in the field of innovation and technology. Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari has made his way towards becoming a leader in interdisciplinary science and technology.

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Under his leadership, Institute of Advanced Materials, IAAM (Sweden), has grown leaps and bounds and now provides R&D services, education, and supports advancement of Green and Sustainable practices. A keynote address was delivered by Ms. Tejoo Bambulkar from “Save Indian Farmers” on the issues and challenges faced by poor and poverty ridden farmers of india. The organization has been actively supporting Indian farmers since 2012. Ms Bambulkar also shared the key initiatives of SIF and how it aims to support farmers in India by identifying and analyzing key issues affecting them.

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Community-driven approach, traditional knowledge, innovation, and adaptability are crucial factors in addressing the water crisis and climate change. He warns that failing to address these issues in a timely and effective manner could lead to a horizontal “war on water.” said,” Dr Rajendra SIngh. He emphasizes the importance of involving local communities in the planning and implementation of water conservation projects, as this fosters a sense of ownership and ensures the projects’ sustainability. His work in water conservation went beyond water alone, focusing on environmental protection, natural resource preservation, and improving the livelihoods of people dependent on these resources.

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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