Rajendra Singh is a highly respected social activist working with water and river issues in India. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, in 1985 he went to live in rural Rajasthan, to introduce modern education and medicine there but soon the villagers made clear their primary need was for water. Harnessing the villagers’ capacities and their traditional wisdom, Johads (small earthen
dams to trap water) were quickly built and the first fruits of these labours were realised in the very next rains when the nature began to flow again.
The area dramatically transformed, progressively becoming more productive, and healthier.
Rajendra and Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS), the organization he chairs to further this work, began in each village by persuading the Village Council, a traditional body comprised of representatives from each household, where decisions are taken by consensus, to contribute labor and materials towards building and maintaining the johads.