Purshotam Gaur is an activist for water conservation
and astrologer by profession.
It’s always better to come up with solution
rather than pointing out the issue and environmentalist Gaur has
done exactly that by the well published water
harvesting efforts in the city. Guruji (as he is often
called by public because of his simple stature and sound knowledge)
is crusading vigilantly to reduce water scarcity and has played
an instrumental role in developing water harvesting infrastructure
in more than 300 temples in Jaipur, Rajasthan with
the aim of expanding his scheme throughout the country.
In 2000, he started on a mission with a campaign based on the premise
that millions of gallons of sacred water used in temple simply go
down in drain and get absorbed by the sewage system which is wasteful
and environmentally degrading as well as religiously unacceptable.
He put forward a proposal to channel the holy water to designated
thank and bore wells that would eventually reached the underground
water table of the city. His efforts have been widely applauded
and received wide public responses and cooperation.
Gaur has achieved great success with his extraordinary
innovative ways of water
harvesting in more than 300 temples across
the city. He collects water from temple (especially Shiva
temple), and channels the water through several filter chambers
before it drain into the ground and recharge the ground
water. Geo scientists and ground water experts have now
joined forces with him and instituted “Shiksha Saniti”.
The institution has calculated that city, with more than
3000 temples, used atleast 4.5 carore litres water poured
on the deity of Lord Shiva as well as other deities, per day, during
the month of Shravan. Although the quantum, during other month,
isn’t as excessive it is still estimated that it contributes
to massive water wastage.
Pandit Purshotam Gaur has been successful
in his efforts to connect with devotees across the city. He has
urged people to support his mission and join the Jalabhishek campaign
for sustainable development by effective water harvesting.
Guruji explained, through this Institution, that
Lord Shiva may not happy with notion that thousands
of litters of water are discharging into the drains in a water-starved
state like Rajasthan, even through the rituals are carried out to
appease Him. In performing his or ritual a devotee uses a thousand
twho-litter pitchers to Lord Shiva. If a family of five performs
the ritual, it along accounts for the use of 10,000 liters. With
over 700 such temples in the city being cleaned by thousands of
devotees daily, the wastage of water is staggering. Alarmed by this
static, Guruji conceived the idea of harvesting the water.
In 2001, the 41 years-old astrologer,
from Jaipur, instigated the digging of 30-ft pits strategically
placed where the water from idols routed. He also instigated the
digging of a separate 5-ft deep pit for the milk offerings. Formally
water and milk used to flow out unchecked into open areas near temples,
creating unhygienic putrid and stagnant puddles. The areas around
temple also became the breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies.
Guruji emphasized that families ended up wasting their entire month’s
requirement of water is just one ritual.
In some of the older temple, water is redirected
to ry wells instead of pit. In Civil Lines, Jaipur it has resulted
in the renewed use of a dead bore well at a Shiva temple. But Guruji’s
efforts to bring about change have not been easy and were initially
suspected by some priests as a means of gaining popularity and demanding
a right to worship. Even when his followers began donating money
for cause, most priests were reluctant to adopt the project although
the cost in only Rs. 2500 for each well. Guruji admits that spreading
awareness about his programme is not an easy task and demands personal
interaction and persuasion “The needs to be done all over
the country, not just in Jaipur,” he says, Ground water experts
say that since temples are located at distance from each other,
such harvesting does not provide instant results, it does, however,
improve the water table in immediate vicinity.
With global warming a burning issue, Guruji’s method of water
harvesting could well appease Lord Shiva.