Gangajal Nature Foundation, Mumbai

Indroduction by Dr.P.S.Ramani (Neuro and Spinal Surgeon)

River Ganga is one among many important rivers in India. It takes origin on the highest mountain in the world the Himalayas. It flows gracefully for a distance of 2400 Kms before it meets the Bay of Bengal. It supplies drinking water to more than 30 crores people, more than 40 crores cattle and still leaves behind enough water to support agricultural projects along its banks. Thus River Ganga has been flowing thought Northern and Eastern parts of India as an Eternal River and serving as a life line to people settled on either side of its banks. It is a little known fact that Ganga water contains bacteriophages which can purify the water and make it safe for drinking.

River Ganga is not as big as Amazon or Mississippi or Nile Rivers but it assumes its importance as the Bastion of Hindu Culture and Philosophy for all Indians spread around the world as well as for innumerable non residents admirers who manage to reach its origin, the Gomukh at Gangotri in Uttaranchal in absolute mystical and spiritual feelings. The cave where the river arises is really formed out of icy blocks and it imparts a blissful feeling of being one with nature. For Indians and particularly Hindus a bath in River Ganga is divine and is supposed to purify the person of all bad deeds.

Away from the feeling of sanctity and blissful beauty, for Indians, the River Ganga from time immemorial has been the University of Indian Culture and philosophy. Ancient great Rishis (Sages) like Vyasa, Valmiki and Vashishtha and poet Kalidas attained wisdom on the banks of River Ganga. Lord Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree situated on the shore of the river. The glory of Ganga is sung in our Hindu immortal Epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Shakuntal, Meghdoot etc. and various other forms of literature and poetry. The carvings of Ganga are found in abundance in Ellora Caves besides having representation in Elephanta caves, panel sculptured in Amravati and Mammalpuram Sculpture in Chennai.

Much to our disillusionment the very people who worship River Ganga as their Godess have, knowingly or unknowingly, indulged in making it most filthy and miserably contaminated with all kinds of filth. When Hindu person is about to die, a few drops of the so called pure Ganga water is poured in his mouth believing that this act will give him Moksha and he will go to Heaven in a respectful way. It may not be true but most of our religious dictums are based on emotional feelings rather than scientific truth.

River Ganga is worshiped with so much reverence. How can we, then, indulge in nefarious activities to make it look dirty and ugly and unworthy of being called as pure and sacred river? Everyday more than 500 Kilos of dead human bones are submerged in the river. Half burnt dead bodies are casually submerged in its bed. Sewage is regularly diverted to the river by residents on its banks and factory waist is routinely directed towards the Ganga water.

The irony of the situation comes from the fact that such misdeeds are carried out by the very people who believe in its sanctity. It can be reasonably presumed that many acts are committed by this people unintentionally. Perhaps lack of education and sheer negligence is the root cause of such disasters. Educating the people living on the banks of Ganga and all others who come there to worship it, appears to be a reasonable gesture. This exhibition, painstakingly undertaken by Photographer and Lover of River Ganga, Shri.Vijay Mudshingikar is aimed not only educating but bringing to the fore the woes which has made the pure water of sacred River Ganga dirty and unfit for human consumption.

This is not the first effort. Many organizations in the past have made similar gestures and over the years they have remained active in their mission to keep River Ganga clean. They have also worked hard to bring this fact to the attention of the Government for effective action but the task is enormous and only repeated reminders will pave the way for a long lasting solution. I have no dout that the efforts put in by Shri.Vijay Mudshingikar will not go waste. He has my best wishes.

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