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Dastan-Go: …and in no time the soil of that area of ​​Junagadh, Gujarat became watery

Dastan-go : Is there any time to tell or listen to stories? Maybe it would have happened. May or may not happen. But one thing definitely happens. Everyone likes stories and stories. It is better if they are present on time. If not, even if they are from the past, there is no harm. Because they always go not only by telling us something, but also by teaching us. Brings back memories of our era. Even a handful of serious spices are sweetened and given slowly. That’s why ‘Dastaan-Go’ has started the process of taking interesting stories to your loved ones. Will try to continue this series. Monday to Friday, everyday…


Sir, This is the story of a river, which was almost about to end, but became alive again. Has been done. This story is also related to the soil of the areas adjacent to this river, from whose veins every drop of water running like blood was drawn. He was left to die, to be barren. But suddenly don’t know how a miracle happened that in the arteries and veins of this soil ‘her blood’ was once again filled and she became ‘watery’. This story has become a big topic today. Because one, today i.e. on December 5, ‘World Soil Day’ is celebrated all over the world. This series started from 2014. So that people understand their soil and its importance. To be more sensitive towards him. And secondly, the river whose revival is this story, started in the month of December itself. This is about the year 2002. And interestingly, there was a demand for the first time in 2002 that ‘World Soil Day’ should be celebrated on December 5 in the world.

Well, now let’s talk about the soil becoming watery, about a nearly dead river coming alive. This story is about 64 villages like Keshod, Malia, Mangrol in Junagadh, Gujarat. Here, in this area till a few years ago a river used to flow, ‘Meghal’. Years ago, there used to be water in this river for twelve months of the year. sweet water. That’s why it was called the lifeline of the whole area. But time changed. The needs of the people living on the banks of the river changed and grew. So, a time came when this ‘lifeline’ started leaving his own life. In a dry and dilapidated condition, it turned into a gutter structure. Water used to come in it only during the rainy days and only dust and sand could be seen in it during the rest of the time. Apparently the drying up of this river had an effect on the soil of the area as well as on the land. The soil started to dry up and crack. Wells and stepwells started turning into dry pits.

The water beneath the ground slid down, down, down. The people of this area had witnessed severe drought in the decades of 1980 and 1990. The people of the area told the newsmen that the condition of Meghal river had also started deteriorating since the same period of drought. Till the year 1998-99, the situation became such that in the summer days, drinking water started reaching the whole area through government tankers. And the local people started leaving the villages and reaching the cities in search of work because there was no scope left for cultivation in their fields. Then Jashwantrai Pranlal Pandya of Ajab village took the initiative to change this situation. Decided not to rely on anyone else. Don’t even trust nature. We will change this situation at our own level. Therefore, he first decided to make people aware in the entire 64-65 km downstream area of ​​the river. Through hiking.

This time had now come in the year 2002. And note that this year, in a country far away from India, the International Association of Soil Science asked the United Nations to celebrate ‘World Soil Day’ to open the eyes of people in the world related to the health of soil. Otherwise the situation will go out of hand. But then no one listened to the International Union of Soil Science. However, here in Saurashtra, where the Meghal river flows, Jashwantrai got the support of some other people in his plan. Hand to hand, talk became talk. And in the month of December, when the whole world was preparing to celebrate Christmas, Jashwantrai and his companions were making preparations for a padayatra in the downstream area of ​​Meghal river. Earlier, Jashwantrai had taken a vow that he would not eat ghee or ghee-based sweets until Meghal returned to her old form.

Well, the dates were fixed, 23rd and 26th December. Padyatras were to be taken out from different places on these dates. Then both the marches were to meet at the place where the Meghal river merges into the Arabian Sea. So, according to this decision, the first padayatra started on 23 December, from Ajab village itself. There is the ashram of Keshav Kalimal Hari Bapu, from there. Around 100-150 villagers gathered and took placards in their hands. They marched forward raising slogans, ‘Jalkranti Zindabad’ and ‘Meghal Hamari Mata Hai’ etc. The people at the other end of the march could not wait much after this and instead of 26, left on 24 December. These people started their journey from Babra village. Kalindhari, a tributary of Meghal, flows from here. So in this way both the padyatras went ahead. On the way, the villagers used to welcome these pilgrims in their own way.

Sir, there is a very famous magazine named ‘Down to Earth’. In February 2003, it had published in detail about this ‘Jalkranti Abhiyan’. It was told in it that the women of the villages had welcomed the pilgrims of this padyatra with ‘Mangal-Kalash’ on the way. Even tied rakhis to the pedestrians. Not only this, meetings were held in every village along the way. In them, the people leading the padyatra told the villagers how important it was to give Meghal a second life. Otherwise the lives of the villagers will be in danger. Rather it has started falling. Therefore, everyone should come together and participate in their respective parts, give their contribution. Not only this, these people were also telling the ways in which the common people have to participate. For this examples of Ajab, Khopla and Samadhiyala villages were given. Where ‘successful rain water farming’ was done.

Meghalaya River

By the way, let us tell here that ‘rain water farming’ is called ‘rain water harvesting’ in the English language. And in the villages mentioned above, some people like Debuben Jelu (Ajab), Mathurbhai Sawani (Khopla), Hardev Singh Jadeja (Samdhiyala) had done this feat during the year 1998-1999 itself. All these people were also with the pilgrims and used to tell their experiences to the villagers at various places. So that everyone understands what to do and how. During the journey those people were also identified, who could spend their body, mind and money in this work of giving new life to Meghal. Among them there were elders, there were youth, there were women, there were children, everyone was there. Debuben was leading the women. Their number was around 100-125. She used to sing folk songs, bhajans etc. all the way. In this way, these yatras ended at the appointed time, at their appointed places.

After this, the work of giving new life to Meghal started from here itself. In this connection, a big newspaper of India ‘The Times of India’ had published a news in June-2015. It told how the villagers of this area of ​​Saurashtra have given a new life to Meghal after 12-13 years of penance. With the help of the ‘Aga Khan Rural Support Program’, 1,100 structures were built along the course of the river. Out of these, about 54 are small check-dam structures. Some 6,500 villagers sweated in this work. About seven crore rupees have been spent. Some of this money was given by the villagers themselves. The rest of the money’s source of income remained other. The state government also helped. He spent this eight crore rupees separately. With this, pump-houses etc. were made at various places. And the result of these combined efforts? Meghal, also known as Megh, today appears full of water in every season. The soil of the entire area downstream of it now again looks watery.

That’s all for today. Khuda Hafiz.

Tags: gujarat, Hindi news, News18 Hindi Originals

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