Skip to main content

Ex-IIT, IIM scholar threatens: Would sit on indefinite hunger strike to "save" Ganga

 Sant Atmabodhanand
By Chandra Vikash*
As already reported, a United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues team visited  Haridwar in support and solidarity with 26-year old Sant Atmabodhanand, who hails from Kerala. He is fasting for making River Ganga Aviral (free-flow) and Nirmal (pollution-free).
This feisty and strong-willed youth stands up like the mighty Himalayas for the indigenous rights for Ganga that we call as Mother and the crores of indigenous livelihoods of farmers, fishermen, herder, boatsmen and so many other diverse indigenous communities for whom the free-flowing and pollution-free river is the lifeline.
Friday, March 22, marked the 150th day of his continuous and indefinite fast till the time the demands are met or he breathes his last. The UN team visit was at the behest of GAIA -Global Academy for Indigenous Issues. The team consisted of Phoolman Chaudhary, Asia representative at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), his press secretary Hari Paudel and Nepalese parliamentarian Metmani Met Chaudhary.
We had great support from local teams who made this visit a great success in sensitizing the behemoth Government of India to the plight of the river and the indigenous people, and to make them sit up and listen.
Ashish Goel and his team at Haridwar, Dr Chinmay Pandya, pro-vice chancellor of the Dev Sanskriti Vishvavidyalaya at Haridwar, Hitesh Chandel and his Defined Values team in Delhi NCR, Nirmala Pandey, BK Jha at Noida among several others. Being thinly funded, we are yet to reimburse the UN team for the travel expenses despite our onerous efforts.
We hope that the mainstream media wakes up to the grim reality of dying rivers and depleting forests in the deluded and desperate chase of "development" which is pushing crores of Indians into misery and destitution dispossessing and disempowering them of the natural resources and eco-systems that generate their livelihoods at the cost of providing comfort to a few and shrinking diseased folks in the cities -- bureaucrats, politicians, media, sychophants, parasites, power-brokers and their cronies.
As the anger and frustration of people gathers more steam and the rage turns into fire, it is likely to burn down their castles made of wax and petro-chemicals. The coming national elections - where these vultures and hyenas are hankering for each others blood and for gorging up bigger chunks of people's resources -- will only add more fuel to the fire.
We have made a petition (click HERE) to the President of India. He is travelling far-flung to Croatia and even further to Bolivia and Chile. I hope he finds time in the next few days to visit the fasting young saint at Haridwar which is just 3-hours away from Delhi by road or rail before a precious life departs us.
We have been trying to reach other key figures in the establishment Nitin Gadkari, the Ganga Minister, and Narendra Modi, who swore by her, proclaiming "Maa Ganga ne bulaya hai" -- only to betray her and go back on his words only hastening her to die faster as various reports cite that the Ganga waters are even more polluted and threatened by more dams in the past nearly 5 years of his regime.
If we don't hear from the establishment, I resolve to sit on fast from Sunday March 24 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi  till the time our demands are met or I breathe last in support and solidarity with Sant Atmabodhanand's fast at Matri Sadan in Haridwar. This reminds me of one of my inspirational poems "Hum Panchhi Unmukt Gagan Ke" from early years by poet Shivmangal Singh "Suman":
होती सीमाहीन क्षितिज से
इन पंखों की होड़ा-होड़ी
या तो क्षितिज मिलन बन जाता
या तनती सॉंसों की डोरी ।
नीड़ न दो, चाहे टहनी का
आश्रय छिन्न-भिन्न कर डालो
लेकिन पंख दिए हैं तो
आकुल उड़ान में विघ्न न डालो ।
I shall seek all of your blessings and good wishes for the same.
---
*Chief mentor and innovation coach, GAIA Innovation Lab; convener, Global Academy for Indigenous Activism (GAIA); alumni: IIT Kharagpur, IIM Calcutta 

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.