It is being touted as the ultimate plan to save our rivers. The Sadhguru has started his rally to replenish our rivers. He’s asking for support- only a missed call- and it’s looking almost too good. But as is India’s past experience with such plans- two questions beg to be answered- “is the plan actually any good?” and “will it still be here by the next rains?” The second question, only time will provide an answer to. For the first, we can venture into a little evaluation.
For those who don’t know, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an unconventional yogi and spiritual guru. He’s also the founder of the Isha Foundation- a volunteer organization that runs wellness programmes around the world. His 2016 book- “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy”- has been a New York Times Best Seller. Isha claims a huge volunteer base in the country; large enough to provide an initial support base for the plan.
Apart from the volunteers, many Politicians, sportsmen, and celebrities have responded with support to Sadhguru’s call. A sense of public support can also be acquired from the fact that the Campaign’s Facebook Page has reached 4.8 million likes.
But, all is not as speckless as it seems. There are some lines of thought which lead me to critical conclusions. Firstly, interlinking of the rivers- which Sadhguru supports- has drawn cogent criticisms from experts. Then, according to Manu Moudgil on The Wire, Rally for Rivers is diverting us from the real issue. Planting trees is going to be used by some backers as an excuse for assaulting the rivers in other- more dangerous- ways. There’s also the irony about Sadhguru’s diesel-guzzling convoy, which, according to The Quint, is expected to produce a hurting 26,194 Kg of Carbon Dioxide.
Ambiguities are also abundant when it comes to the rescue plan. For me they arise from the lack of details in the overall plan, and also from the prospective outcomes, or the lack thereof. To be fair, the criticisms are no good either. Their equivocality even makes me lean in Rally’s favour. Because, in all practicality, what harm has ever come from planting trees?
Then, at its core, it seems unlikely that Rally For Rivers is a cure-all plan for our environmental woes. In its defense, no practicable plan can singularly heal the planet. Also, in all honesty, it’s not as scientifically proofed as it could have been.
Instead, it will be better if we look at it as a first in a series of public-backed, and hopefully independent, movements. If done right, without the political or corporate strings, this can very well be the proper start of a pan-India pro-environment movement. And that makes it a win-win for everyone, deserving of our support.