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Ganga Dasshara – 7

The last few days we have been talking and thinking about Maa Ganga and Her place in the life of Indian Civilisation. The way She has fertilised the plains of India and has helped India to grow and develop.

In the last blog, we tried to understand about an emotional chord which She has struck with the people living on Her banks. Due to this bond, they call Her “Maa” (Mother). They have been mutually helpful to each other during tha last so many years.

But, today the Humans have taken over by greed. They have become selfish and self centred, especially the urban population. They think only about their own good. And this way they have polluted Her.

People, especially, the Lutyens media blames the people who cremate their relatives on Her banks or immerse the ashes of their deceased. They blame the people who throw the flowers and garlands inside Her waters. But they turn a blind eye towards industries which have come up on Her banks. I feel that these industries have polluted Her a lot. The algal bloom on Her waters has killed the ecosystem within. The phenomenon, as Science calls it, has destroyed Her beauty and purity. And the people doing this look just for profits forgetting their duty towards environment conservation.

River Ganges flows through the most densely populated regions of India passing 29 cities with population over 100,000, 23 cities with population between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 48 towns.A sizeable proportion of the effluents in Ganges are caused by this population through domestic usage like bathing, laundry and public defecation. Countless tanneries, chemical plants, textile mills, distilleries, slaughterhouses, and hospitals contribute to the pollution of the Gangas by dumping untreated toxic and non-biodegradable waste into it. It is this sheer volume of pollutants released into the river every day that are causing irreparable damage to the ecosystem and contributing to significant significant sanitation issues.

(Source : Wikipedia, Save Ganga Movement)

At this note, would like to point out, that the awareness about the problems of pollution has spread and people and Government have started taking steps for cleaning Maa Ganga.

The movement did not build up suddenly. Concerns about the condition of the Ganges were raised for decades which gained impetus in the past few years owing to awareness and support from keen environmentalists. Furthermore, different studies revealed the deteriorating health of the river. In 1998, Smt Rama Rauta, the founder of National Women’s Organization (NWO) under the leadership of Dr. Sushila Nair conceived the necessity to initiate public mobilization based on the principles of non-violence to seek support for Save Ganga Movement – against the pollution of the Ganges and its tributaries. A seminar on Ganga aur hamaaraa daayitvaon (Ganga and our duty) was conducted on 13 November 1998 at Kanpur. Soon popular Gandhians, Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna and Dr. Kanchanlata Sabarwal, also joined the Movement.”

(Source : Wikipedia, Save Ganga Movement)

These thoughts and movements have grown during the years and are initiating common people to join in. Would like to mention the efforts of a lady from Nagaland, Temsutula Imsong. A 35-36 year lady with her NGO Sakaar has taken up the onus bonus clean Maa Ganga with her volunteers from 2013. The way she has been able to clean up the ghats of Varanasi is commendable. It has left a deep impact on the minds of the people of Varanasi, that the Prime Minister of India had to take notice of her work and appreciate it. The best part about her is that she has settled down in Varanasi to bring about her project to conclusion. The problems she faced and the locals reactions later are worth a read. Citing a few here.

The work in Varanasi began in 2013, one ghat at a time. But the beginning wasn’t as smooth as the support they received later.
“One day, these boys and girls appeared and started cleaning the ghats. They met a lot of resistance from local people, but they persisted. We remember this girl, especially since she looked different from the rest. We were told she is from Nagaland. People who live in Benaras did not care about the ghats, so it warmed our hearts to see people from other cities clean them” Babua, from Babua Pandey Ghat.

(One can read many more on the Web).

Also the Government of India has risen to the call of Maa Ganga and realised their folly of not doing anything about this for such long years.

Namami Gange Programme‘, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme‘ by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.

Will specifically mention 2 projects taken up under Namami Gange programme. A survey for finding the endangered Dolphin in Ganga and the Ganga Gram Project.

The River Survey

In March, 2017, the Union Government launched the first ever across-the-river survey in River Ganga to determine the population of aquatic life, including that of the endangered Gangetic doplhin. The survey will create a baseline scientific data for the government to take suitable measures to improve quality of the Ganga’s water.

GANGA GRAM PROJECT

This project was launched recently for holistic sanitation development in villages on the banks of River Ganga. These villages will set the bench mark of cleanliness and integrated effort of development. These will be converted into Ganga Grams by 31st December 2018. The objectives of Ganga Gram Project include solid and liquid waste management, renovation of ponds and water resources, water conservation projects, organic farming, horticulture, and promotion of medicinal plants.

(FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN KNOWING MORE, PLEASE REFER TO “NAMAMI GANGE” WEBSITE.)

The efforts of the individuals and the Government are really to be lauded, especially the individuals who have trying to bring about a change with the funds that they have.

At the end would surely like to make an appeal to the people of India and those especially living on Maa Ganga’s banks to be grateful to Her and never forget Her importance in our lives, both social and spiritual.

Namami Gange.

Author:

Am a teacher by profession. A student of History and international politics. Believe that Bhakti (Devotion) and Humanism can only save Humanity. Revere all creation. My thoughts are influenced by His Holiness Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale

6 thoughts on “Ganga Dasshara – 7

  1. Very well researched article Ameetji…..your strong views presented for the reasons behind the pollution of this esteemed river are highly appreciable …liked the phrase “luteyn’s media”😊…..a gesture of gratitude to Temsutula Imsong’s efforts….absolutely an eyeopener writeup…👍👍😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are absolutely true. The major source of pollution is industries. The other things are on small scale and Ganga can assimilate those things. But industrial pollution is something that should be of most concern.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Spreading awareness,💙💙. I hope that day is soon that Ganga will be as pure as it used to be not only spiritually but also physically. 🙏💙👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

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