River and lakes are almost as old as civilization itself. The roads and rails are, admittedly a much later phase. Even in the prehistoric days, the waters formed the prime routes. Naturally, commerce, art and culture and even raids or invasions were largely dependent on it.
Venice is a city of lakes even today. In Europe, the rivers Peo, Rhine, Seine and the Adriatic Sea; and in Egypt, the River Nile was the chief sources of that imported and exchanged the various centuries. They contributed largely to the Mediterranean culture. In India the Gangetic and the Indus Valley are riparian.
The cargo boats in the Ganges ply trade materials like the bamboos and logs of woods. In Myanmar(Burma), and Yangon(Rangoon) the timber trade is a regular feature of the commercial use of the rivers. When road traffic gluts in big cities the authorities take recourse to the rivers. To cite, in Kolkata the Gange now lends large scale relief to the town administrators, and boat ferry has made the movements of commuters and others much easier as well as healthier. Again the rivers provide and have provided a never-ending source of enjoyment, fun and games. The Dhakuria lake in Kolkata becomes seasonally a site for delectable rowing by the member of the KolkataRowing club. The river Thames that skirts many towns and cities in England becomes alive often with rowing boats. Needless to mention that this event is centuries old in England.
These days there are adventurous feats for ambitious youths in which the river plays a significant role. Rafting for instance. Many young boys and girls jump into the fray regardless of the hazards of the game. It involves a pluck and courage to dare the turbulent current of the reader. It usually takes place in the upper reaches of the Ganges. Sometimes although very rarely, one is lost in a vortex. But the joy is in the adventure itself, a fit enterprise for the youth.
Thus the rivers are the natural outlets of the stored energy of young men, whereas the lakes are artificial ones. Such amusements and exercises are avowedly healthy ones and the phenomenon is steadily gaining ground.
There are some places in North Bihar and Bangladesh or Assam which have intricate river network. Although today we have improved modes of river communications, in more primitive days the men there had to depend more on showed greater pluck and courage in negotiating watery tracts. It is interesting to read the stories of their lives. They lived to plunge into the river day in and day out and very seldom suffered from cough and cold. In the rainy season, they shifted to safer and higher regions loading their belongings which they could savage on wooden cots that served as boats. What struck terror in the hearts of town dwellers, was those lads interesting and play like.