Skip to main content

Ganga flows… with blood? Eco-crusader passes away after his pleas to save the river fell on Modi's "deaf" ears

By Sheshu Babu*
'Naitikta nasht hui ... Manavta bhrasht hui
Nirlajya bhav se behti ho kyon ...'
( Morality is destroyed ... Humanity has been corrupted
Why do you flow in this shameless way?)
– From ' Ganga behti hai kyon' by Pundit Narendra Sharma and lyrics rendered by Bhupen Hazarika

One of the present government's prime missions was to clean Ganga. It boasted of a flagship programme 'Namami Gange' but could not care to listen to the real fighter who was on fast since June 22 demanding concrete action to cleanse Ganga by not allowing industrial waste causing pollution and health problems to people.
Environmentalist GD Agrawal, who suffered cardiac arrest, has passed away. He was administered a potassium and heart related medicine, said a doctor at All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rhishikesh. He was demanding steps to make Ganga ' aviral' (free flowing) and clean.
The 86- year old former professor of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, had been demanding a ban on all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of Ganga. besides enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act. Agrawal sent several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, in 2014, had pledged on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to clean the river. But, as IIT-ians for Holy Ganga, a forum formed to preserve the heritage and ecology of the river, has rightly observed, the government paid no heed to his demands.
GD Agrawal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, who was also former chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, IIT, Kanpur, served on the board of the National Ganga River Basin Authority and was the first member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board.
The government had also engaged him at various levels for advise on the health of the country's rivers. His demands included maintaining the environmental flow of the river to prevent pollution, removal of encroachments from the riverbank, and a special law to deal with the pollution of the river.
In July, he was forcibly removed from his fasting venue by police and taken to an undisclosed destination. Later, he filed a petition in the Uttarakhand High Court stating that his peaceful fast did not pose law and order problem to the state.
Many human rights activists, environmental experts and politicians have expressed their condolences. Activist Prashant Bhushan said that Agrawal passed away after his pleas to save the Ganga “fell on Modi's deaf ears”. He regretted “this world is not for pure souls”.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Rs 22,000 crore was allotted for cleaning it (Ganga) but not even one-fourth of it has been used."
Aam Admi Party leader Sanjay Singh, Rajya Sabha MP, termed government as 'insensitive', adding,the BJP garnered votes on the name of Ganga but could not save the Son of Ganga (Agrawal).
Even the ruling party members, including the Prime Minister and Union minister Uma Bharati (who vowed to clean Ganga) expressed grief, but their inaction and lack of political will is palpably visible.
Despite fasting for almost 111 days, the government failed to assure Agrawal and could not stop him from fasting. He had tried his best but when he realized that the rulers are unmoved, he stopped taking even water and honey for the last few days, leading to his demise.
Today, Ganga is smeared with blood of its loving son. Will the powers-that-be initiate any concrete step in future?
---
*The writer from anywhere and everywhere is supporter of human rights. Whenever he ponders on the question 'Who am I?', he receives response from a lyric by Bhupen Hazarika, 'Ami ekti jajabor' (I am a gypsy)

Comments

Uma said…
Modi is not going to say anything about anything till election time except, of course, to bash Congress and Rahul. This has been his policy since 2014. If his party does as well as then, or better, he might start speaking up.

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.