Ganga se Panga…? The problem with highlighting sacredness for cleaning Ganga

ganges-river-mapLet me try to explain my problem with muddling the Ganga cleaning project with religious connotation….. as people have been asking me why I am so against it… and what is wrong with using a bit of religion if it helps in the greater good…..

When the PM of India does a speech on an international podium and at the end of the project shows the people (NRIs) a video on his pet project that among other things stresses on the religious sacredness of the river….. I am pissed off and I think many of you should be…

And when I posted saying “Is Ganga Purification the biggest issue we face….. people in majority was after me, for me being pessimistic and not giving Modi a chance…. Modi has his chance and his term in government, but that does not in any way mean I lose my chance to question, not now, not anytime, I call that freedom to express….. and I wish to keep that freedom… even if people think I become a bundle of negativity in doing so…. I am not against hope, I am against hype that dresses itself as hope….. …..

Here are some facts I think I know

  1. The Ganges is around 2,500 KM long; originates in the Himalayas; leaves the mountains in Rishikesh and reaches Haridwar, flows through India and Bangladesh and settles into the Bay of Bengal. That is not a small thing
  2. Around 37% to 40% per cent of India live in towns and villages along the Ganges. They depend on it for drinking water, irrigation and livelihood…..
  3. A large population also use the river for their spiritual sustenance which also in turn pollutes it with religious waste
  4. Pollution also happens from urbanization, industrial waste, municipal sewage, open defecation, mass bathing, half cremated dead bodies, animal carcasses and so on…

First of all there is no debate if a clean river is important to our existence on this planet or not…. Whether sacred or not, a river should be clean….

And here are some of the lame thoughts/questions from my end…. as I am not an expert in waterworks, politics or nation building

  1. The current plan is to clean it in a target of 3 years and an allocated amount of $300+ million for it…. The amount might be less and the idea would be to garner the support and more funding needed to keep it going, but is 3 years realistic… ambitious and realistic are two things….. people can be made to jump up and down on unrealistic things as well….
  2. They say making the Ganga navigable from Allahabad to Haldia….. Navigable..? and does that mean increasing transportation on ganga,..? does that it adds or reduces pollution….?, and I am not sure if there are any environmental unfriendly changes that have to be made to make a river to make it a transportation medium… like disrupting its free flow in anyway…
  3. Cleaning of Ganga is not just about cleaning a river but also finding and establishing alternatives for the pollution making activities because they will not cease to exist… toilets to avoid open defecation is something I hear….. there are many more….. are those detailed out…..
  4. When you approach cleaning and debarring religious pollution, will that infringe on sentiments……? how about telling people that they cannot cremate on the banks of the river again etc….

800px-Funeral_on_the_GhatsNow the problem I have using religion to make the ends meet, which is clearly what Modi (our PM) did on the podium…

  1. Religion exists without logic and facts and details…… there are many things you have to accept blindly even before you decide to be rational within the boundaries set forward by religion….
  2.  So with religion and sacredness and other mambo jumbo in place ‘the devil in the details’ will never be looked into…. period….. may be no one wants the devil….
  3. Beyond all my problems with concept of religion, I have specific issue with using religion and religious sentiments to meet anything… it is more dangerous when used for a project that has a very big impact on the country, economically and otherwise…
  4. Religion muddles things, obstructs progress, influences negotiations and decisions and more…. That is why religion should be kept away from politics and anything for greater good

The nude fact is that Modi had kept himself a bit away from religion (at least in public) in some way during his initial days in office, but one cannot keep things under wrap for long and it came out in this video during his international speech at Madison….. You can differ with me on this, but that is my opinion….

I specifically liked a comment by one of my friend who said something like “for good things to happen a hype is needed” I like that because I agree to that in a way because marketing is a hype and then turns to be a true statement once things are achieved…. But religion by itself is a hype, and using one hype for another hype is a double edged sword…..

I hope people question even if they want to follow…. People achieve irrepressible and uncontrollable power not always because of their nature or need…. But because of how people look up at them…… there is propaganda, media and calculative thought drilling that happens…. everyone needs to understand that…. It is not right to object of shut people up saying that if you talk against XXX or YYY you are unpatriotic and unreasonable…… fill in whoever or whatever you want in XXX and YYY…. It will result the same….

Jai Hind!

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