Renowned yogi and mystique, and founder of the Isha Foundation, Sadhguru, is on a mission. From September 3, he was on a motorcycle rally from Talacauvery, the origin of the Cauvery river in Karnataka, which culminated in Chennai. The aim of the 'Cauvery Calling' rally was to seek public support for the conservation of the Cauvery river. The focus is on motivating farmers to switch from water-intensive crops to agroforestry, which is the practice of growing fruit or timber trees. After flagging off his campaign 'Cauvery Calling' on a 2-week journey on a motorbike, covering a distance of over 3000 km, Sadhguru joined Republic TV for an exclusive interview.
He had one pertinent message to all people, "Cauvery is calling. Do you have the heart to listen?"
The most essential aspect to make the project a thumping success are the farmers. The predominant owners of the land, their cooperation, and understanding is the primary thing to make the project a success.
Talking about their trust in the venture, Sadhguru elaborated, "One thing is, in Southern India, particularly, in Tamil Nadu, there is an enormous trust in the farm community with me and they know very well what I say is for their well being, there is no politics behind or some other motive. So that trust is translated into action. Over 70,000 farmers have benefitted in the last 18 years of this project but the pace with which we are going is not good enough.
As is natural, they do have several inhibitions as well, "One reason why the farmer does not want to grow a tree is even in his own land is that if he grows a tree and cuts it, most probably he will be arrested for that and there is a whole lot of activism in the country that if he cuts a tree in his own land, people will come and protest and lodge complains against him. These kinds of things have been happening," Sadhguru said to Republic.
"I am asking why would a poor farmer grow something that he cannot make use of?" Sadhguru added.
"So we have been working with the governments, both, with the central government and the two-state governments to change this loss wherein the process of setting up a timber board, where timber must be treated as agricultural produce and not as a forest produce. Right now, the farmer is very enthusiastic," Sadhguru said.
Apart from the farmers, Sadhguru explained that the involvement of the youth is also essential. They are the future of the country.
He said, "The youth of India need to get involved in this otherwise this is not gonna happen."
He also stated this to be one of the reasons as to why the motorcycle was chosen as a means of transport to spread awareness on the mission.
The Central government, as well as the State government, has been extremely positive with its approach towards the mission. Offering unwavering support and help for "Cauvery Calling", the government understands that the mission is a need of the hour.
Sadhguru said, "Both the governments are willing to do what is needed, both of them have promised that they will give the necessary subsidies and make the changes in the laws which will allow a farmer to grow, fell, transport, and sell his timber products; wherever he wants, whichever way he wants."
The Karnataka government have dedicated 2 crore saplings for 'Cauvery calling' and the Tamil Nadu government has similarly dedicated 1 crore saplings for the cause. Including this, the sapling count of the organization is well over 5 crores now. An MP from Tamil Nadu also promised to dedicate 1 crore saplings.
Sadhguru also said that not just the Indian government, even the international organizations encouraged the mission.
He said, "On the 9th and 10th of this month, I was at the COCP14 and find enormous enthusiasm at United Nations about 'Cauvery calling'. They all think that it is the most fantastic thing to be done and they are looking forward that this works. So there is support from the United Nations and all the organizations at the UN."