The river of life - Part 1

Wednesday, 3 October 2012 5 Comments

Ganga has some deeper and hidden connections in my life. It dates back to when I was almost 4 or 5 years old and use to throw coins in the river whenever we crossed the Ganga Bridge at Kanpur. But that was a fun task for me, as my only motive was to ensure that the coin reached the river, from a moving car, without bothering much about the reason. But let’s rewind and know why did I throw coin in the river? Weird!  Actually it’s a belief or you could say a custom in Brahmins to offer some money, out of respect, to the holy river whenever you were in close proximity. At that point in time I was completely unaware of this fact and it was merely a target for me to achieve. But unknowingly I guess these were the values which were automatically imbibed in me as easily as, getting accustomed to touching elder’s feet. But the actual sense of realization came when I visited Rishikesh in 2009. I was completely mesmerized by the grandeur of the river and I just fell in love with Ganga. The river turned into a soulful, lively inspiration for me rather than just a water body. It attracted my imagination and lead me to reach it one of its mystical source, Gaumukh.

India is the only place where air and fire, trees and animals, mountains and rivers are depicted as God. And one of these powerful deities is the River Ganga. She is the water goddess who blesses thousands in the Northern India. For centuries she has shaped up the plains and relieved the parched land by its mighty waters. It flows for 2500 km through the gangetic plains before meeting the Bay of Bengal at Gangasagar. The cycles of birth, death and rebirth are endlessly played out around her. And through these two kinds of worlds: the natural and the spiritual world, flows the river of life, Ganga.

India has many sacred rivers, but it is the Ganga which lies in the heart and soul of the people. As goddess, Ganga originally watered the gardens of heavens but its powers were needed on earth to purify and cleanse the souls. The impact of her descent would have destroyed the earth, therefore lord Shiva caught the river in his hairs and channeled the flow into hundreds lesser streams. The source of Ganga is of great significance as in Hindus it is considered to be the crossing point between earth and heaven. River Bhagirathi, originating from the Gangotri glacier is considered to be the source of Ganga in Hindu culture and mythology but some consider Alaknanda to be the true source, geographically. Flowing through the majestic Himalayas, the two rivers meet at Devprayag to form Ganga. Hindus believe a holy dip into the river can wash away all your sins and lead you to Moksha- liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Such is the grandeur of this river. It has some of the holiest places of India along its bank, which draws Hindu pilgrims from all over the sub-continent to celebrate and worship the divine river goddess.

Before coming to Haridwar, the river is wild and its sources and tributaries are full of mysteries. Its only here, that it takes a shape of one powerful river which enters a very different, a very human world. In which her sacred waters cleans cities, irrigate fields and purifies the body as well as the souls of millions. From here it moves into its next stage to start its epic journey to the sea.
Ganga, The river of Life.


Does India really need a 'Satyamev Jayate' to see all the “Satya” around them??

Sunday, 29 July 2012 4 Comments

This has been grabbing my attention for quite some time now, and I couldn’t resist myself from writing this blog. “Satyamev Jayate", the most talked about show in the country these days. When I say ‘Satyamev Jayate’, the echoes you’ll hear back is : Great!!, Awesome, Impacting,  Creating Awareness, Its’s about facing reality, Good  show , Great effort  blah blah… It’s the hot topic in the colleges, amongst the women in kitty parties, office cafeterias. When women discuss this, their heart really comes out and you could clearly see that they are completely connected to the other people’s sufferings. When discussed in Offices, this becomes a heated discussion, the youth feels sad about it. All of a sudden everybody has become so sensitive about the issues which persisted since ages. In metro cities this has become a custom to talk about it, to tweet about it, to put up as a Facebook status. I just fail to understand what suddenly made people so concerned about the loopholes of the society. Is it the stardom attached to the show? Like when Aamir will say then only we’ll come to know that the dowry system still exists in the country or how we are polluting Yamuna and Ganga. Where were we when Sunita Narain was shouting at the top of her voice, why it went unheard? Is it so that there was no Aamir or Shahrukh saying it. It’s really sad to see how things are patronized in our country.

Different people have different take on this. For some it’s about awareness, God only knows what kind of awareness is this when you know that something wrong is happening around you and you are just aware about it. How does it really matter, if we are not acting upon it? Let’s say through the show now the ‘Aware’ India knows that few of the medicines sold in the market at very high price are originally extremely low in cost, so have we stopped buying medicines or have we taken any action towards it. Leave apart this, people are not even bothered to collect the bills for the medicines they have bought. Or for that matter, how many of us have stopped polluting the city by not throwing ‘Kachara’ here and there on streets or public places. This is something which should come from within and one should keep his/her eyes and ears open so that he/she can act more responsibly towards their surroundings.

For others it was about an increase in knowledge. Wait !!!!! Increase in knowledge, is it a historical fact like ‘The first battle of Panipat took place in the year 1526’, that needs to be remembered and kept in our heads for the rest of our lives for a historical reference. Weird , it is, to memorize the ills of the society without acting upon it and the saddest part is the solution to every problem is discussion.
The issues brought up by the shows are not alien to us or something we were completely unaware of, be it female foeticide or child abuse etc, they all have their roots intact in the system since long time. The problem is everybody is seeing everything, but chooses to turn their heads around. But now as the show has come up suddenly everyone has their eyes and ears open. I can’t understand when a celebrity is associated to a cause then only people feel attached to the cause, then only all the donations starts pouring in, what about the people who have dedicated half the years of their life working for this. The irony is, if you fast in the centre of the capital with all the media attention, you have people and politicians, both pleading you to end the fast, but if a person who sacrificed his whole life  for a cause and  fasts for seventy three days without any media coverage,…….he dies. That is what an impact of being a celebrity in this country is.

The only point I wanted to make is, bring some action into the picture instead of discussing and trending it on twitter . One should decide for oneself what he feels about the society and what needs to be done, rather than following what a celebrity thinks about the cause.