Ganga is Just a Metaphor for 'Jal - Jeevan' Water Spirit
Reviving our Waters… Ganga ‘first’!“Now, it is time to do my bit for Ma Ganga, Ma Ganga is waiting for her son to free her from pollution”
— Narendra Modi on banks of Ganga in Varanasi
Reviving our Waters… Ganga ‘first’!
Now, it is time to do my bit for Ma Ganga. Ma Ganga is waiting for her son to free her from pollution.
— Narendra Modi, on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi
A nation needs care for its life-giving resources as a first step to building its pride and a foundation for a prosperous future. Water is a life source that transcends all forms. Its vapour forms rain, flowing rivers, lakes and aquifers. It merges with soil to give birth. If we can cure water, we can cure everything. Water is life, and our ancestors knew that. Ganga represents that life force – it's not just a river that needs to be cured of pollution and degradation, it's a life force that needs to be nurtured and revered as a symbol of our civilization. Its state reflects our state, and its cure would confirm our transformation!
This analogy, of course, makes the task lot more potent and difficult at the same time. But it's completely within our reach to achieve this transformation. It can transform the nation.
We need a comprehensive ‘Jal Neeti’ Water Policy: a policy that looks at water in all its forms in a comprehensive manner, under one body. One that looks at the water balance at the national, state, district level and village level. Every time we see water, we need to also understand the interconnectedness of all water sources. The water balance would consider all forms of water: water in air [evaporation + precipitation], water in soil/earth [groundwater], and water in our rivers and lakes. This approach would allow us to view water in a global manner and understand its complex dynamics and constantly interchanging states.
The approach would require as its first step a dramatic increase in data collection and modelling, something that is long overdue. We need a national record of our water. How much do we have? What have we lost? How much do we need? This, along with clear guidelines for sustainable water use, is probably the strongest tool we can create for policy-making. It would directly affect the entire country. We need to make water the symbol of our personal health – and our national health. If we can clean our waters, we will be able to clean ourselves. I realize it's a lengthy task, but so is the task of cleaning the nation of its ills. It's not easy, but it's a magically potent metaphor – and completely measurable! The fact that we can qualitatively and quantitatively measure water allows us to assess how successful we are in our efforts, how far we have come and how far we need to go, at any time.
It would be a mistake to look at Ganga, Yamuna or Narmada as rivers alone. It would be a mistake to hope to cure Ganga only by reducing pollution from sewers and industries. These rivers are part of a complex ecosystem, and everything is integrated into everything else. First, we need to get the complete picture, to figure out exactly what’s ailing our waters. Is it just pollution or material defects, or are we also suffering from strained spiritual energies in our waters? I strongly believe that if we can draw a comprehensive picture of our waters, we will be able to identify issues more clearly. To our surprise, pollution from cities and industries would be a small part of the problem. We will need to open our eyes wider, not just to see what’s in front of us, but also see what’s invisible. To see the energies that hold everything, to gain respect for that force, and to work with it to find a sustainable solution that can balance our civilizational needs with what nature has provided us.
Our cultural beliefs demand that our rivers flow and stay pure, and that our water sustains life. If we can do this, we can do anything. It's a metaphor, just like the Mahabharata is a metaphor for Karma and Life.
We finally have a government that has the mandate and whose leader has pledged on the banks of Ganga to restore it to its glory. There can be no better beginning than this.