Pilgrims from 54 countries participate in Paryavaran parade at Mahakumbh
Times of India – 26th January, 2013
By Shailvee Sharda
Close to a thousand pilgrims – from across India and around the world — will march together to celebrate Republic Day on the banks of the Ganga at the Kumbh Mela on Saturday, as part of an environmental parade to call for India’s independence from pollution and to pay homage to the war heroes, who have faithfully served India’s past.
The initiative has been taken by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar and President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, who said that participants from of all castes, creeds and cultures will come together to call for an Indian “Clean Revolution.”
The parade goers, hailing from more than 54 countries, as well as students from the northeast states of India, will wave their national flags, colorful banners and slogan-signs calling for all to keep ‘Mother India and Mother Ganga’ pollution-free.
Talking to reporters he stated, “We are gathering to send a strong message that together, we can clean up the Ganga, just as She cleanses us. Today, we celebrate our freedom of sovereignty, but we are not truly free until our country is liberated of pollution. We must continue to work and to strive for the freedom to live in a country blessed with clean air, water and land. Ganga’s rights are our rights! We worked and fought long and hard for our own independence. Now we must work for Ganga’s rights!”
It may be noted that nearly 3 billion liters of sewage and chemical waste are poured into the Ganga. This dumping, combined with the obstruction and diversion of its water has resulted in water shortages, toxic drinking water, and the virtual disappearance of segments of the river.
The event will also pay respect to the war heroes, who have protected the land, culture and people of India. In doing so, it will send a message of inspiration for all to serve in the footsteps of these martyrs and veterans in order to preserve our environment.
The procession will begin at 4pm on banks of the Ganga on the main Kumbh Mela grounds, sector 2, police line, near the fort and will end at Sangam Nose, main snan ghat, approximately 1.5 km from starting point.