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Caring for river Sabarmati, a son from Haryana

ISP Ahmedabad Bureau 

He was born in Gubhana village of Jhajjar district in Haryana. Financial constraints and livelihood compulsions of the family forced them to migrate to Delhi where he completed his education. A bright student and curious person by heart, his early stint with writing helped him enter the journalism field and he made a name of his own. He felt indebted to whatever he had gained from this land and people. His professional requirements took him to Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat, a place which he made his own and decided to give back to the place what he owed to nature. 43-year old Dinesh Kumar Gautam is a shining example of a simple person making lives extraordinary with sheer enthusiasm and will power.

Even during his young days, he thought of running a school for the underprivileged but he wanted a more wider impact. At the prime of his career, he left his journalism job to help society creatively and constructively.  He is today known as the man behind the cleaning initiatives of river Sabarmati in Ahmedabad. 

He and his team of volunteers organised as Drishti Foundation Trust adopted Sabarmati River and wow to make the barren lands green in the river banks. They observed that although the River Front project had helped beautify a considerable stretch of the river in the city and people were thronging the place to spend time, the upstream locations of the river towards Gandhinagar was getting choked with dirt and lack of care. 

“My first-hand experience of living in poverty was the foundation of my thought process. It was an experience I wanted none else to ever come across. It was a daily struggle for existence. My early stint of running a school as a college pass out was a gesture to give back the goodness which I was indebted towards the many people who helped me strive through difficult times. But that was not enough, I wanted the community to be mobilised to do more impactful things. My stay in Ahmedabad gave me that opportunity and there was no looking back,” says Dinesh talking to ISP. 

After his studies in Delhi, he travelled to a lot of regions to learn more about the requirements of various communities. He worked with organisations in Alwar and Mewat region first before moving to Ahmedabad. 

Today, Dinesh leads an army of more than 1000 volunteers in the cleaning and upkeep of the upstream area of river Sabarmati. More than 10 tons of waste has been removed by this voluntary network of youngsters in the last couple of years. 

Dinesh strongly feels that as humans, we are not doing justice to what nature is offering to us and therefore there must be a perpetual attempt on our part to fill the gap. 

“Every day, we worked from 10 am to 5 pm with the volunteers to make the Sabarmati ecosystem safe and sensitize people regarding waste disposal. We are glad that many species of birds and flora in the riverbed are back now after our efforts,” says Dinesh. 

The voluntary network is now supported by the authorities of the local municipal and district authorities of Gujarat. Everyday, many new volunteers are joining with Dinesh and his initiative. The young man from Haryana today is a person who is inspiring many to help keep Ahmebadad clean and beautiful. 

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