Skip to main content

From purity to pollution: Journey along Ganga from Uttarakhand plains to Varanasi and beyond

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
The video above is about my Ganga journey from the plains of Uttarakhand to the ancient city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The journey starts from Lakshaman Jhula in Rishikesh and then moves to Har Ki Pairi in Haridwar and give you a glimpse of its purity and energy till it is in Uttarakhand. The river enters in Uttar Pradesh via a village in district Bijnor. The first major railway bridge on Ganga happened to be at Balawali. 
The water level of the river is reduced drastically by the time it reaches Bijnor and there is absolute drought everywhere. From Bijnor to Garhmukteshwar, the journey is that of depleted water and more pollution. The fact is Ganga is more used for rituals in the plains of Uttar Pradesh than people bothering about its pollution. 
From Garh, as it is popularly known, Ganga moves towards Central Uttar Pradesh and the fertile belt of Ruhail Khand via Moradabad, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Hardoi. At Hardoi, Ramganga, another Himalayan river emerging from Uttarakhand, and taking a parallel route, meets Ganga at its border with district Kannauj, famous for ancient Indian emperors such as Harshvardhana and Jaichand. 
In Kannauj several small rivers too flow into Ganga, and it moves towards Kanpur, the biggest city of Uttar Pradesh. Just 30 kilometer ahead of Kanpur is Bithoor, a historical town and Ganga looks like a river, full of water, but it is because of a barrage about 7 kilometer down known as Kanpur Barrage.
Thereafter,  Ganga looks pale in front of what we saw in Bithoor. 
In Kanpur, the industrial and sewage waste flows into the river and continues to pollute it. Ganga forms border between Kanpur and Unnao and moves towards Fatehpur and then to Prayagraj where it meets Yamuna to make the biggest Sangam. From Prayagraj, it moves towards Vindhyachal and passes through Grand Chunar Fort and enters Varanasi. 
The journey in Varanasi is equally fascinating as it is not merely an ancient city for Brahmanical rituals but also enlightenment of Lord Buddha, Saint Ravidas and Kabir. Two so-called rivers too flows into Ganga in here namely, Assi Ganga and Varuna, highly polluted. Ganga moves towards Gazipur but on the way meets Gomti river at village Kaithi. 
At Ghazipur, we visit the tomb of Lord Cornwallis, a British Viceroy in 1805. Ganga forms the boundary between Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It enters Bihar from Chausa and moves on.
Continuing my exploration of communities and history along with river Ganga and its tributaries, after Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh, Ganga enters into Bihar's Buxar region from Chausa, a historically important nondescript town, about 10 kilometres from the district headquarter Buxar. The interesting fact is that river Karmnasha ends its journey here by merging in Ganga which then moves onwards towards Buxar, Chhapra, Bhojpur defining the border between UP and Bihar. 
I covered Gandaki in Sonpur, visited historic Gurudwara Patna Sahib and moved to Munger. The most enchanting and fascinating part of Ganga in Bihar is between Munger, Bhagalpur and Katihar. The second video above takes one to important places such as Sultanganj, Kahalgaon, Vikramshila, Kursela and Manihari. Interestingly, the big ship seen in the video operates as a mode of transportation and goods from Manihari to Sahehbganj.
*Human rights defender



'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

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. 

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

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.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

Tribals from 60 villages observe seed festival to 'protect' diversity of indigenous seeds

By Bharat Dogra*  Nearly sixty villagers are sitting on an open floor covered by a roof for shade but otherwise open on all sides. Women and men are present in equal numbers but the visibility of women is higher because of their colorful dresses.

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."