An Army Officer`s Tribute to The Ganga Warrior
LT COLONEL NOEL ELLIS
It was a very sad day when I heard Prof GD Agarwal died after a 111 day fast unto death for Ganga. He would now be immersed in the same mother of all rivers for which he was silently trying to make a difference. The river which is supposed to be a giver of life and giver of “Moksha” keeps flowing silently. As his ashes will get mixed in her waters she will continue to flow without complaining.
A professor by profession, with so much of knowledge about climate change, transformed himself to a crusader, to teach this country a lesson that not only Ganga is a holy river but every other river is as holy and needs to be saved. Water is worth its weight in gold today but who cares?
Why is no one asking for the resignation of the ministers involved in clean up the Ganges? You ask the minister about clean Ganga, he will rattle out bombastic figures of thousands of crores. Ganga flows on.
He admits that the abuse of so many years cannot be undone in four years, Ganga doesn’t complain.
Then he throws at you schemes he has proposed and stringent norms that are being implemented. It doesn’t matter to Ma Ganga.
He rattles out umpteen projects upstream and downstream. Ganga stays unfretted.
Polluting cities are identified and being turned into non-polluting ones. Ganga says my foot.
Ghats of certain towns associated with “Religious Tourism” have been given a face lift, Ganga stays mute.
People are dying for Ganga, Minister saab is only watching and giving clarifications, that most of the professor’s demands have been met. How heartless!
I have been following a campaign by a news channel from “Gangotri” till it falls into the Bay of Bengal. Those difficult 2525 kilometers, when finally she meets the sea to breathe a sigh of relief once she dumps all her load she carried with her all the distance. She never refused anyone or complained that at places she has been turned into a dirty nala. I am sure she feels happy when she meets the Yamuna at “Sangam” without realising that Yamuna too has brought with it so much of muck in the 1376 kms Yamuna has meandered. We believe that Ganga has been God gifted to cleanse all our sins.
Ganga has stopped crying “ME TOO” anymore. She knows people will not stop the molest and abuse. She also has experienced that whosoever has visited her has left some filth and also picked up that one bottle of “holy water”. She has never resisted or retaliated. She has been the kindest mother. We say Ganga Maiya ki Jai for our selfish reasons I reckon. We ask for her blessings and use her as a dumping ground.
Actually, every river and its tributary have to be given the status of Ganga. If there is no water in the rivers there will be no irrigation and no crops. The farmers are already in distress, thus polluted water will only cause further distress. Ground water is running out, plastic menace is increasing by the day. There was a time when even humans used to drink water from flowing rivers, it’s not anymore. Untreated sewer & industrial waste water is being quietly mixed into our life givers in full knowledge of authorities. This slow poisoning we are doing to ourselves will only add to woes of public health.
We do “Swachh Bharat” at place A, from where trash is “shifted” to place B or goes to a landfill. From where scavengers and rag pickers bring it back to the main stream and this vicious cycle continues. Every citizen needs to understand this that swachhta has to start from the source of trash generation. That’s “WE TOO” need to contribute to save our water bodies. In my place, flowers and ashes of incense sticks of every household after pooja are put into a polythene bag and chucked in the river. I asked one chap why, he said we can’t throw it elsewhere because “ye bhagwan ka hai” (it belongs to the Gods), I left it at that.
To begin with there is the need to extract out every bit of trash from rivers & seas, never to go back again. Every polluting source needs to be controlled & monitored. In other countries rivers are kept clean without being ‘Goddesses’. Then why is Goddess Ganga crying “me too”? I wonder!