This is a truly amazing story, that enforces the power and influence that a single person has. The Kali Bein River is a sacred river in the region of the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab.
The river has a rich history of aiding gurus and spiritualists in their search for enlightenment. It is rumored that Guru Nanak attained enlightenment after bathing in the river.
In the past few decades the river had fallen into disrepair. People were dumping large amounts of trash and waste into the sacred waters with no regard or respect. In 2000, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal had reached his tolerance limit and started to clean the river by himself. He had tried to appeal to the government, but his attempts were disregarded. He invoked the Sikh tradition of free voluntary service, known as Karsewa.
The Kali Bein river is 160 kilometers in its length. The massive scale of his chosen task did little to daunt Seechewal. He split his time physically cleaning debris from the site and starting a grassroots movement in the community. He reminded the people of the history and value of the Bein.
As time went on, he gathered a group of recruiters that specialize in informing the public and suggesting ways to get involved. His campaign drew in the support of thousands and raised the necessary funds for equipment. Over two dozen villages participated in the cleanup process.
The strength of the community involvement finally convinced the local government to get involved. An official order allowed water to be diverted from a nearby canal. This allowed the natural springs to revive and refill. The restoration of the river has greatly improved the neighboring areas greatly. Thousands of hectares have been relieved of waterlogging, desertification, and flooding.
All of this started with a single man’s decision to act. He started with whatever small tasks he could accomplish. He raised a banner that others could join and help. Through small genuine steps, he set in motion a great action.