Make Ganga Your Green Valentine Every Day
As people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day this week with gifts of chocolate and roses, as symbols of their love and devotion, it is the perfect time to renew our commitment to our Mother Ganga. Children all over the world will make Valentine’s Day cards for their mothers. Here in India, every day, not only February 14, should be an opportunity to show love and devotion to our Mother Ganga.
Standing on the banks of the Ganga at this year’s Kumbh Mela, my heart is filled with gratitude to a river that has nourished my body, mind and soul throughout my entire life. She quenches our thirst, cleanses our bodies, irrigates our fields and brings divine liberation and purity to every moment of every day. She not only provides moksha and divine connection to the pious. She is also the very lifeline for some 500 million people, a mother to all who live within Her vast reach. It is time that we truly see, respect and treat Her as the head of our family, as the true, divine Mother. Tragically, the current way that our Mother’s waters are treated is actually killing these very waters. Mother Ganga, as the Divine, is un-taintable, un-pollutable and un-defilable. However, Her physical form, these precious molecules of H2O which are the very life and livelihood of approximately one-third of India’s population, are polluted every day with nearly 3 billion liters of waste, including carcinogenic chemicals and raw sewage. Added to this is solid waste, such as discarded poly bags, wrappers and plastic bottles, which choke the river, sully Her shores and sicken millions who live in Her basin.
As our nation’s most beloved Mother, the provider of our life, sustenance, security and serenity, it is time that Mother Ganga’s actual waters are treated with as much love, respect and care as Her divine essence. She is our Mother, not our property to use and abuse. Today, and all days, let Ma Ganga be our Valentine.
On February 14th, Ganga Action Parivar will hold a special Valentine’s Day rally at the sacred Kumbh Mela. Pilgrims and participants from across India and across the world will wear the colors of India’s flag. Orange will symbolize the power of the sun and alternative energy. White will represent simplicity, purity, and environmental-sustainable living, and green will stand for the role that organic farming can play in keeping our waterways toxin-free.
Ganga is the past, present, and future of Mother India. She has played in integral role in moving India forward, in every sphere from the cultural to the developmental, nurturing and nourishing all. She must be allowed to flourish if India is to flourish.
Words are not enough. We must take action. Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) is working to bring every sector of Indian society, government, business, environmental groups and more to develop solutions to serve Mother Ganga. A few of Ganga Action Parivar’s initiatives are as follows:
- Toilets – GAP is working to install bio-digester toilets along the Ganga and in schools, not only to reduce the human sewage that contributes to two billion liters of pollution pouring into Ganga everyday, but also to provide a safe, private and sanitary place for the 70% of villages with no access to toilets.
- Taps – Water-borne diseases represent one-third of Indian deaths every year, killing 1,700 people a day GAP is working to provide clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing in order to keep all of India healthy.
On this beautiful day of Valentine’s Day, join the Ganga Action Parivar and make Mother Ganga your valentine! Here’s how you can make every day Valentine’s Day for Mother Ganga.
- Plant a Tree for Ganga – Trees provide life-giving oxygen and fruit. Their roots prevent soil erosion, deadly landslides and harmful pesticides from entering India’s rivers.
- Prohibit Plastic – Stop using the poly bags that poison and choke our waterways, and kill cows and water life.
- Prevent Trash – Organize clean ups of litter and garbage in your community to not only keep India beautiful, but to protect Ganga and all the human, animal and plant life that depends upon Her.
With love in our hearts, let’s offer our love and care to Mother Ganga, as She takes care of us. Join the family, go to www.gangaaction.org and make every day Valentine’s Day. Ganga’s survival is India’s survival. Ganga’s rights are our rights.
By Swami Chidanand Saraswati
Founder, Ganga Action Parivar
President, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh