Pandit Jawaharalal Nehru, the first prime minister of India once quoted India as "melting pot", a land that promises "unity in diversity". On examining the above we find it to be true. India being declared as a secular country is a land filled with people of different religion, culture and heritage. In a modern perspective, different culture brings about different ideology. A mind set deep rooted in the masses following it. A culture "inherited" and not "learnt". A behaviour so idealistic, that it sometimes takes toll on an unseen scale. In this case its our very own –River Ganga.
The Ganga; a river that stretches thousands of kilometres over the entire northern hemisphere of the geographical India, a river that shelters various life forms is now a victim of the sole brutality of our human race. No matter how much we consider ourselves evolved in terms of technology, we fail miserably to understand nature in its true form. As a result the entire ecological system is out of balance. So the question- to keep Ganga clean the puja's should not be performed on the bank of the river, do I agree? Yes I do. Not just me, any responsible citizen would agree on the same. River Ganga is the largest river in india with numerous tributaries. Ganga originates in the Himalayas and spreads across the mainland, making every land it touches fertile, and rests in the Bay of Bengal. Since Ganga is a water body, it finds itself as a major source of irrigation, supporting large percentage of Indian agriculture. Its also a major source of fishery and adds to the economic spectrum of our country. Dams are built in order to serve as partial-reservoir to avoid the wrath of floods. Also is the only river mentioned time and again in every major Hindu script. So its of vedic importance too.
Early Vedic Legends always mentioned about how holy Ganga always was from time immemorial. People generally believe that if they bathe in the sacred river, they are bound to get salvation in afterlife or may be they will end up in heaven directly after ones death, washed away of all their sins. Their souls are cleansed and the "atma" becomes pure is the solid notion embedded. Every Hindu, once, in their entire lifetime wishes to take a holy dip in the river. Varanasi and Patna are among the many cities that host the 'kumbha-mela' and various other pujas stretching over days. Thousands of people locals and tourists gather to witness the spectacular view of these pujas. They take part by offering prayers and wishing goodwill to the river. The most important aspect is the aftermath. The lasting ecological effects of these pujas . where do these pujas and rituals leave our river?
A normal survey conducted by the ecologists in their reports mentioned devastating effects to the water body. The amounts of organic wastes such as flowers, bangles, leaves, mud plates with oils, carbon wicks, were in such huge amounts that their decomposition would take a long time. Also people would build funeral pyres along the banks. The whole process is such that, a person dies, soon after ones death the body is prepared for final rights by decorating it with flowers, colours etc, then prayers are chanted through pujas and rituals and the body is set ablaze and burnt. Even before the body is completely burnt ,its dumped into the river along with the pyre. Another problem lures its sanctity when the adjacent placed industries treats the river like a disposal ground. Tons of chemical wastes, non-biodegradable materials, reactant elements are directly let into the river without treating it. In some other parts the cities sewage is also let into it. The local people also use the river for recreational purposes. Washing clothes, bathing, cleaning cattle etc is a common site along the river bed. All the above happens everyday. And it never stops. Everyday the river is one side treated as divine, whereas its merely become a dump yard for organic and inorganic effluents.
Various programmes are undertaken by the government from many decades. If some projects cost millions the others would cost billions. Yet hardly Ganga manages to strike her name out from the polluted list. Its such a pity! World bank sanctions billion rupees towards cleaning of Ganga. Money goes unaccounted for and also Ganga is left where it used to be. PIL(public interests litigations) filed against industries, and actions taken against them are all long forgotten. Something must be done at least to save what is left of the river. Because it serves multiple services its even regarded as a national river. Many NGOs have been put up breeding turtles to atleast clean up the organic wastes to certain extant.
River Ganga or "the great Ganges" known to be a vital source to various aspects is indeed on a verge of failing. Failing for its existence. Soon the river may just give up. Already aquatic life is dying. People and animals consuming its water are prone to diseases like large scale cholera, skin infections and fatal being death. Before its too late to undo the wrongs ,local masses need to be educated. Awareness should be on the widespread. Propaganda should spread widely to protect the river otherwise most of north India will be crippled without its major river.
Philosophers and thinkers say civilization changes on the brink of precipice. It makes us realise who we are. Here it is, our big chance to save the Ganges by changing ourselves. A mind-set that needs to be uprooted. The void filled with new morale.
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