Which part is in India and not in India- make it clear for the next generation. This is what the government is trying to do right now – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
How would you explain the importance and urgency of Cauvery Calling?
Cauvery is no longer a perennial river. Because, for almost five months, it doesn’t touch the ocean. Marine ingress is happening, and in nearly 60 km of land in Tamil Nadu, you will see marine water. If this happens, all along India’s 7,400 km coast, we will lose one-third of our area, which will lead to mass migrations, that will definitely cause a lot of civil unrest. If there are two consecutive monsoon failures, there is no way the government will be able to do anything. Trains and trucks cannot take care of rural distress because it is all spread out. The depletion of the Cauvery in the past seven years is steep. I think it is because bore wells are sucking deeper and pulling out more water. Watch my words, the same places that reported floods recently will report drought soon, because floods and droughts are part of the same problem. For the first time, recently, I saw the KRS reservoir brown in colour. It has always been crystal clear because it used to flow through so much vegetation, most of which is gone now. This is not just a grim picture, but reality that is showing up.
Would you see this as a policy failure on the water front?
There is certainly a policy lacuna –– in case of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, we have kind of solved after 2.5 years of relentless work. Policy lacuna is also related to the various so-called environmental activists — today, if a farmer who has grown a tree on his land tries to cut it, there will be protests, he will even be arrested. I should be able to use the species I grow, only then will I dedicate my land towards planting of trees. Otherwise, why will I invest my land? 80% of the land is held by the farmer. In this land, if he doesn’t grow trees, where are you going to plant them? Government owns only 18% of the land—that of course, must be forested. That’s also not a big challenge –– it can be done in 4-5 years. The real challenge is 80% of the land which is farm land.
Your comments on the Jal Shakti ministry?
The intent is good, a dedicated ministry was definitely needed. Right now, the government is trying to consolidate it. It is very vital that it happens so that Jal Shakti is empowered as a ministry.
What would you say on river linking projects?
I met the minister recently and he is very committed. For the first time, I have a government voice telling me clearly that it is not going to happen as it doesn’t make any ecological and economic sense. The minister said they are experimenting on small projects mainly for flood mitigation but not thinking on river interlinking on a large scale. If you link the rivers in a tropical nation like ours, in 25-30 years there will be no rivers left. These are ideas from Europe where the temperature, climate and the land is of different nature –– so this is a complete no no.
How would you look at the issue of clampdown in J&K?
The problem of Kashmir has existed for decades and an intervention was necessary. What intervention should have been made is left to the elected government of the country. We can always question the wisdom of the government, but letting the problem fester forever is not the solution. What governments have done till now is kick the can of these troublesome issues for the next government to handle –– be it the problem of Kashmir, illegal migrants over even the Ram Janmabhoomi. I am glad that the government is at least taking the trouble by the horns. J&K has been going into clampdowns all the time but it is imposed by someone else. In the past 25 years, how many times has J&K closed down, how many have been killed, how many have left the place because of what has happened…Right now, the government is not clamping down permanently, they are only talking about clamping down temporarily and restoring things after. I hope this happens as quickly as possible, as peacefully as possible. Right now, from what I hear on news, they are saying 100% landline communication and cell phones are restored except three spots where there is trouble. Sovereignty issues of this nation must be addressed before we aspire to become an economic superpower because it can derail everything easily. This must be settled. Which part is in India and not in India –– make it clear for the next generation. This is what the government is trying to do right now.
Will this not add to anguish of the people in the valley, give space to radical elements?
Radicalism has always been there. ISIS flags are waved during agitations. Why does that radicalism not get called out?
There is a view that we are becoming an intolerant, divided India?
Don’t watch TV channels. Walk across Delhi city, walk into any village—do you find discord, are people fighting with each other? I am in touch with millions of people, I don’t find any discord anywhere. Here and there, in such a big country, some stray incidents are there. This country is not managed by law enforcement agencies, there is no law. We are managing ourselves peacefully. In rural India, there is simply no police but people manage themselves without any violence on a daily basis.
Your thoughts on NRC in Assam?
About uncontrolled migrations, we need to either set up a system where they can come and work here with permits and Indians can also go do business there. Any nation that has an unaccounted number of people living in it, is asking for trouble. Modern nations must know who and what kind of people are there within its boundaries. Those days are done when people could live and work anywhere. These days, even sanyasis are asked for their ID cards on trains and flights. It is not a question of politics, religion or discrimination. It is just economics. Our diversity should not work against us.
How would you look at ISRO’s attempt at soft landing on the moon?
It is a tremendous achievement for the country. Just because some minor thing went wrong, it doesn’t mean it is failure. Yes the data may not come as they expected, but it is not a small achievement. India’s prestige in the world will go up enormously because of this. Aiming to go to the moon is a big step towards proving to the world our country’s potential, aspiration and competency. That is important for the world to take note, and invest in us.
What are your expectations from the National Education Policy?
I had given an education policy recommendation in the previous stint of the government. I had recommended a four language formula which will freak out a few people. Being an Indian, if you want to travel freely, at least you should know four languages reasonably. (When) You come to the North, you must be able to order a tea or in South India, how to order a coffee. Children can pick up languages effortlessly. Why don’t we just teach them how to speak rather than reading and writing? Speech wise, if they can speak four language by the time they are 10, they will be mobile in this country and an Indian rather than a Tamil, Gujarati or something else.