Water, the quintessential and the vital cog of our existence is in crisis. Every one of us knows this and we all seem to ignore it. We’re too busy with our mundane lives that we hardly care about anything else except those things which hurt us. And water scarcity did hurt us and will continue to haunt us if we keep on plundering the pleasantries offered by nature. Humans have exclusively and extensively exploited water in numerous ways. Be it by dumping industrial waste, human waste, mining, oil spills, and many more ways. Therebymaligning waters and making them murkier by the day.

We don’t even have the luxury of wasting water as India has only a meager source of water. Yes, water sources are meager in our country as we have only 4% of the world’s freshwater but account for around 16% of the global population. So next time you squander water for fun, be it for flashy rain dances, or others like for Holi or other reasons, it would be nicer if we reduce those usages rather than defending those explicit wasting of water in the name of religion or fun.

Pull out any statistics and it would be evident how grave the situation is. Yet hardly do we talk about saving water or cleaning our rivers. When we do, we do it superficially as we don’t go deeper into the actual problem. This is the reason why we are facing famines. Our leaders boast about clean water and save water and even make mighty impressive campaigns. But the excitement only stays till his/her greed need is fulfilled. Once their petty goals are done and dusted, the files for these river cleaning and water saving projects start catching dust.

In times when our prime minister doesn’t acknowledge the fact of climate change, saying there is no such thing like a climate change, our bodies become old to withstand the temperatures. What an intelligent prime minister, right! Little did we know about his ingenious intellect before electing him. No wonder why babas are more famous in our country than scientists. Don’t believe me? Well, I give you the benefit of doubt, how many of us know who Dr.  G Sateesh Reddy is?

Talking of babas and water in the same breath, one thing that obviously strikes our minds is the “Rally for Rivers” campaign by Mr. Jaggi Vasudev last year. A campaign initiated for a very noble cause which is to save our water bodies by afforestation along the width of the river banks. This is indeed a very noble cause. But in the pretext of a rally, things were pretty delusional as the primary goal doesn’t seem to be fulfilled and now hardly anyone is talking about “Rally for Rivers”. Mr. Vasudev met numerous ministers, actors, athletes, and sportsmen. He made everyone pledge to save water and clean our resources in any way possible. But his approach to do that by Mr. Vasudev is probably not the ideal solution to the problem.

Urging people to participate, giving a missed call to a certain number, wearing blue t-shirts and other PR exercises seemed to be the crux of this rally. A story by The Quint revealed the extent at which air was polluted by Mr. Vasudev’s entire fleet of vehicles on this mammoth 7000-kilometer campaign is alarming. In fact, Quint said the approximate number of trees that were to be planted to nullify the effect of carbon dioxide by these vehicles is approximately 8,00,000. Yes, 8 lakh trees. Some might differ saying it’s okay to pollute the air, don’t be too harsh on him. It’s all for the greater good. Fair enough. It’s over a year now and we still didn’t get to see that good yet.

Not only this, we can’t revive rivers just by this song and dance. And moreover according to the article in News minute, it is clearly cited that the reasons for water pollution happen due to reasons like industrial dumping into rivers, mining, river bed encroachment, and other serious issues. How can you stop that by planting more trees on the banks of rivers? The article also throws light on the irony that the sponsors of “Rally for Rivers” is the Adani group who don’t have a great history with more than one controversy revolving around violating environment norms and other such esteemed organizations.

Waterman of India, Rajendra Singh initially supported the “Rally for Rivers” but later withdrew his support for the campaign citing the reason. Rajendra Singh has revived 9 rivers in his lifetime. He takes a jibe at Sadhguru saying he has revived 9 rivers in his lifetime but never did it with a missed call. The reason being it is not a feasible solution for conserving our water reserves nor cleaning water bodies.

The second reason being the entire “Rally for Rivers” seems to be a shallow rally where Mr. Vasudev seems to be promoting himself rather than the cause. This is the problem. Hardly anyone knows about the Waterman of India but everyone seems to know about the full-time road trip enthusiast who is also a part-time torchbearer of a hollow river conservation project.

Another gentleman named Mr. Sri Sri Ravishankar was also alleged to damage the floodplains of Yamuna. There are also allegations against him for polluting the Yamuna. The national green tribunal leveled charges against him. But Mr. Sri Sri Ravishankar doesn’t bother to care. He challenged the National green tribunal and who blatantly says that he won’t pay even a single penny.

Namami Gange or the clean Ganga mission was announced to clean river Ganga by 2019. Our Prime minister made an impressive speech sugar coating it with a good mix of emotions. He said that mother Ganga has called me. It’s my honour to serve her. But that service seems to fall flat. Sri Uma Bharti ji was initially given the reins of reviving river Ganga.

Things didn’t seem to be happening and hence that is taken over by Mr. Nitin Gadkari in the fag end of 2017. The National Green tribunal in its report in 2018 said and I quote “NOT A SINGLE DROP OF GANGA HAS BEEN CLEANED” Mind you, this project was started way back in 2014. The myth that majority of our politicians are seldom punctual and true to their words is slowly turning into reality. The probability of puns used by our politicians is probably more than the time they do something substantial.

GD Agarwal was the activist who died recently fighting for clean Ganga. Guess why he died? He went on a fast until death to pressurize the government to initiate the cleaning of Ganga in full swing. No one cared about him nor did any media covered his story. He dedicated his entire life for Ganga despite being a graduate from IIT. He could have given up and gone back to some lavish job with a fat paycheck. But he didn’t. He believes his goal was much nobler than his luxury. Such a selfless man and so we don’t hear about him much. May his soul rest in peace. And that happens only when Ganga is cleaned.

It’s okay to turn a blind eye to these shams and pretend to not care. But there will come a day when we need to take a loan for buying water similar to our home loan, a water loan! And that is the worst era anyone wouldn’t like to live in. That’ll be the time when our once sacred water bodies will make us scared, very scared!


References :

  1. The Quint “How much Air pollution is Sadhguru’s Rally for Rivers causing?” by RoshunPovaiah (08/09/2017)
  2. The Hindu Business Line “Modi’s tryst with clean Ganga” by Raghu Dayal (29/08/2018)
  3. The News Minute “Why tree planting is not the answer” by Priyanka Thirumurthy (06/09/2017)