Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) is a global family of professionals, engineers, scientists, activists, spiritual leaders, environmental specialists and dedicated sevaks (volunteers) dedicated to the preservation of the River Ganga and Her tributaries in their free-flowing and pristine, natural state and to the protection of over 500 million people who are dependent upon Ganga’s clean waters for their lives and livelihoods.
On April 4th, 2010 by the hands of H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswati, former Deputy Prime Minister Hon’ble Shri L.K. Advani, former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Major General B.C. Khanduri and many revered saints and dignitaries, Ganga Action Parivar was officially launched at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh at a special “Sparsh Ganga” (“Divine Touch of Ganga”) function, an event to raise awareness about the need for collective and holistic, solution-based action to address the crucial issues facing the holy river. Since then, hundreds of supporters and family members have been mobilized, coming together to find solutions to the problems facing Ganga and Her tributaries.
The mobilization of this GAP family was critical to filling and bridging the gaps left by previous Ganga Action Plans, after which Ganga’s dire situation has continued to deteriorate. With Ganga irrigating the fields which feed more than one-third of India’s population, with Ganga being the sole source of water for bathing, cooking and drinking for millions of people, and with Ganga symbolizing the national heritage and identity of India, the situation has become truly critical.
Despite these challenges, Ganga Action Parivar knows that the power and spirit of love, unity and cooperation are the only ways to bring about true, sustainable change. GAP members have pledged to have Mother Ganga as the head of their family and are dedicated to bridging differences to work as one family, embracing all and including all.
We envision a clean River Ganga and all her tributaries with the constitutional right to flow uninhibited and to be protected from waste and pollution. We educate and inspire current and future generations in the value of stewardship across India and the world by working closely with a network of individuals, organizations, NGOs, religious leaders and their congregations, as well as local, state and national governments.
GAP is a global family of professionals, engineers, scientists, activists, spiritual leaders, environmental specialists and volunteers dedicated to:
Conservation of the River Ganga and Her tributaries in their free flowing, pristine and natural state
Protection of over 500 million people dependent upon Ganga’s clean waters for their lives and livelihoods
Preservation of the rich cultural, spiritual and national heritage that Ganga forms the very essence
Promoting sustainable and innovative research to find workable solution and alternatives to pollution and flow obstruction
Learn more about His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the founder and inspiration behind Ganga Action Parivar.
Voices For Ganga
When Pujya Swamiji shared the Ganga Action Parivar project with Dr. Pranav Pandya, Head of All World Gayatri Pariwar, Dr. Pandya emphasised his support for this noble and crucial project. He said that Shantikunj would absolutely be a strong and staunch part of Ganga Action Parivar and that he personally as well as on behalf of Shantikunj would help the effort in every way possible.
“It is a matter of great regret that the Ganga Action Plan, which was launched in 1985, and to which Shri Rajiv Gandhi gave such high priority, has failed to stem the growing pollution of our great life-giving river and its tributaries, which have for millenia shaped our civilization and culture, and nourished our forests, wildlife and ecology. I think by now it is clear that the government alone cannot succeed in stemming the pollution and degradation of our river system. This has to be a people’s movement and a mass action programme, for which we must draw inspiration and guidance from Mahatma Gandhi.”
“Gangaji is the essence of Indian sanskriti (tradition), connecting all from diverse backgrounds…She is not an ordinary river, and protection of Her is of prime importance.”
At the end of 2011, His Holiness Pujya Shankaracharya Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swami came and stayed at Parmarth. During his stay, he and Pujya Swamiji had many detailed discussions regarding projects GAP is undertaking. From these meetings, Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Shankaracharyaji made concrete plans for joint programmes in animal care, tree plantations and biodiversity, sanitation and solid waste management and detailed rural development.
“The movement to save the Ganga and its ‘nirmal’ (‘clean’) and ‘aviral’(‘uninterrupted’) flow is not just a movement to save a river…If the Ganga lives, India lives. If the Ganga dies, India dies.”
“Going forward, it is my dream to see that Ganga becomes free of pollution all along its course, right from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar, the place in West Bengal, where it merges into the ocean…I have no doubt that a combined determined and sustained effort of society and the state would restore the Holy Ganga to this pristine purity. It may take decades to fully reach this objective, but it is a maha yagya (mega mission) worth undertaking. Indeed, it should be our long term goal to make all the rivers, lakes and water bodies in India pollution free. After all, they are not only the lifeline of our country’s development, but also the symbols and sustainers of India’s ancient and proud civilization.”
“We have always used the water of holy rivers like Ganga and Yamuna to purify ourselves, but today we have reached a point where we have to purify this water…It’s not only the government that can do it. We will have to come together.”
On April 4th, 2010, His Holiness Dalai Lama graced the “Sparsh Ganga” event at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh which launched Ganga Action Parivar. He moved the participants with a powerful speech about the effects of global warming he has witnessed within his own lifetime and the need to rectify and become conscious of our actions in order to live in harmony with our environment.
“Mother Ganga, along with all its surroundings, is an open temple. It’s not enough for us to worship the Ganga merely through pujas and prayers: we need to also demonstrate our respect and devotion through practicing cleanliness. We should clean up what’s outside with the same intention with which we clean our altars, the ashram, as well as our hearts.”
Realising this dire need to restore Ganga, in 1979 the late Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi took an active role and directed the Central Board for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution to perform a comprehensive survey of Ganga’s situation. From this survey the Board published two reports which later formed the basis of future efforts to clean Ganga.