Emerging from the pure hairs of the lord Shiva, the river Ganga, is considered the holiest and the purest of all, which is said to heal up all the pains and grievings of those who worship it with a pure heart. Despite being worshipped for centuries, its condition is has been worsened over the past few years. Continuous growth of the human civilization and performing the rituals at the same time has become a bane for the river that is worshipped with love and respect.Originating from the lap of Himalayas, it has made its way through most of the states in India. Right from Gangotri, to West Bengal it sheds its water and provides livelihood to million and thousands of humans as well as animals.
Ganga – the holy river
The Ganges, it is the sacred river to Hindus along every fragment of its length. Every year millions of people come and pay homage to the holy river and bring back with them the pure water of this river, along with performing lots and lots of rituals, such as paying homage to their ancestors, offering flowers. And its historic significance is worth noting that makes it the most beautiful and sacred rivers in the history of Indian culture.
The story begins with a sage, Kapila, whose intense meditation has been disturbed by the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Livid at being disturbed, Kapila sears them with his angry gaze, reduces them to ashes, and dispatches them to the netherworld. Only water of Ganges, then in heaven, can bring the dead sons their salvation. A descendant of these sons, king, Bhagirath, anxious to restore his ancestors, undertakes rigorous penance and is eventually granted the prize of Ganges’s descent from heaven. However, her turbulent force could also have shattered the earth, Bhagirath persuades Shiva in his abode on Mount Kailash to receive Ganges in the coils of his tangled hair & break her fall. Ganges descends, and arrives in the Himalayas.
It’s history and religious significance is far from what we hear and believe today. The river that has been given the status of “mother”, it has been seen from time to time in different contexts and religious books. Yet, one or the other story is left behind which seems to be there in Puranas and books.
Ganga – geology and humans
Made with the confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers, the length of the river is frequently said to be slightly over 2,600 km long. The discharge of of the Ganges also differs by source, and it has changed its course a different periods of time.Human development, mostly agriculture, has replaced nearly all of the original natural vegetation of the Ganges basin. More than 95% of the upper Gangetic Plain has been degraded. The river suffers from severe pollution, caused due to dwelling of millions of people close to the river, industrial waste, sewerage disposal and mining, etc.
World Bank estimates that the health costs of water pollution in India equals 3% of India’s GDP.
Adding a huge amount of pollution to the river the cities of Varanasi, Kolkata, Patna, Kanpur produces the most waste that eventually results in conditions such as –
- Shortage of water for basic requisites
- Killing of large and rare fauna species
- Degradation of quality of water
- High risk of water borne diseases
Economy, environment and mission –
The river Ganga is not only a river, but attracts a large number of tourists every year because of its long history and religious beliefs associated with it. The Kumbh Mela, is one such example that attracts millions of “Bhakts” and tourists from every corner of the world. Adding to the country’s economy and providing a fair amount of money in terms of tourism. But, it is an unfortunate circumstances for the country that the holiest river is constantly loosing its beauty and religious belief due to increased risk of pollution and water degradation. Due to which the government is constrained to take stricter actions.Several projects, such as Namami Gange programme, NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga), Rejuvenation Protection and Management. The government has also made tireless efforts to maintain a ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. A total budgetary outlay of Rs. 20,000 crores for 5 years period till dec. 2020 has been provided to accomplish the twin objective of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.It’s never too late to start off with a good deed and protect our national wealth, and its the right time to prevent our sacred river Ganga from getting degraded and providing it a new life, so that not only us, humans could be benefited, but can provide a home to rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. Be it government, or the common country man, the joint effort of both can bring unbelievable results and preserve its historicity, economy as well as the geology of the country.