Skip to main content

Conserving Ganga: Delhi-Haridwar march to start on March 9 in support of fasting saints

Swami Atmabodhanand
Counterview Desk
Several people's organizations are all set to begin a foot march from Delhi to Haridwar in support of sadhus fasting for conservation of Ganga, starting on March 9. The march will end on March 17. A statement ahead of the march, issued by well-known civil rights leaders, Sandeep Pandey, Faisal Khan, and others, says, "If the government had listened to saints then 40% of Indian population who live on banks of Ganga or one of its tributaries would have directly benefited."
Those supporting the long March include Matri Sadan, Lok Rajniti Manch, Khudai Khidmatgar, National Alliance of People's Movements, Nodi Bachao Jibon Bachao Andolan (West Bengal), Koshi Navnirman Manch (Bihar), Matu Jansangathan, Ganga Bachao Samiti, ToxicWatch Alliance, Sarva Dharma Samanvaya Parishad (Jharkhand), J.P. Health Research Foundation, Parents' Forum for Meaningful Learning, Sanatan Sanskriti Raksha Dal, Jal Jan Jodo, Paigam-e-Insaniyat, Prayatna, Humanity Welfare Society, Indian Industries Association, Ecologize, EGC Enterprises and Socialist Party (India).

Text of the statement:

Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand who earlier served as Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and was the first member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board began a fast unto death on June 22, 2018 demanding a law for conservation of Ganga. After 112 days of fasting he died at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh because of alleged cardiac arrest on October 11.
He wrote letters to the Prime Minister before and after beginning his fast. However, Narendra Modi did not dialogue with him. He sent a condolence message on twitter the day Swami Sanand died. We hold Bharatiya Janata Party government and Narendra Modi directly responsible for the murder of Swami Sanand.
In 2011 young ascetic Swami Nigmanand had died on 115th day of his fast in Haridwar against illegal mining in Ganga. It is alleged that he was murdered by a mining mafia who was close to the then BJP government in Uttarakhand. Swami Gokulanand who observed the first fast against illegal mining in 1998 with Swami Nigmanand was murdered in Nainital in 2003 by mining mafia.
Baba Nagnath died on 114th day of his fast in Varanasi in his effort to save Ganga. Sant Gopal Das who started his fast for uninterrupted flow and clean Ganga on 24 June, 2018 has been missing from a Dehradun hospital since 6th December, 2018.
Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand wanted "aviral" or uninterrupted and "nirmal" or clean Ganga. He was demanding that all proposed and under construction hydro power projects on Ganga be stopped immediately. He wanted complete ban on illegal sand and stone mining in Ganga basin as well as on deforstation.
Presently another young ascetic Brahmachari Atmabodhanand has completed more than hunderd days of fast with the same demands continuing Swami Sanand's struggle. He is fasting is the same room which was used by Swami Sanand at Matri Sadan. Swami Punyanand is next in line already on fruit diet ready to go on fast if anything happens to Brahmachari Atmabodhanand.
Swami Sanand had fasted five times during Manmohan Singh's government in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. That government stopped the Lohari Nagpala hydro power project and declared 135 km of Bhagirathi river as eco-sensitive zone on his demand. During his 2013 fast Rajnath Singh as then BJP president had sent him a letter that all his demands related to Ganga will be met when Naremdra Modi government will come to power. However, sitting once on fast in this government proved fatal for him.
If the government had agreed to Swami Sanand's demands not only him but Ganga would also have been saved. Now Swami Sanand is not amongst us and one day Ganga will also disappear. Many rivers in the country including Sabarmati have dried. Ganga and other rivers will also meet the same fate.
If the government had listened to saints then 40% of Indian population who live on banks of Ganga or one of its tributaries would have directly benefited. But as the elections approach issue of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, from which nobody knows who'll benefit, is being raked up, and in the case of Sabrimala temple, RSS and BJP as well as Congress are opposing the entry of women into the temple. On the other hand all big parties are promoting corporate loot.
Neglecting the common people's issues like implementation of Allahabad High Court Justice Sudhir Agrawal's judgement making it compulsory for all persons receiving salaries from government to send their children to government schools, Justice Sudhir Agrawal and Justice Ajeet Kumar's judgement that all people receiving salaries from government and their family members get themselves treated in government hospitals, bring an employment guarantee Act for the educated unemployed on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or minimum support price for farmers, there is an attempt to expoit religious sentiments of people and give free hand to corporates.
We need to reject this politics.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.