There she is, Sarasvati

via Eenadu report in Telugu, 21 Dec. 2008 published on December 23, 2008

In our puranas and itihaasa, reports on “saptasindhu”, “triveni sangamam”, Sarasvati river occur countless number of times. There is now no scope for some people accustomed to screaming that these are ‘mythical stories’.  Archaeological Survey of India, Indian Space Research Organisation, ONGC – all have accepted the reality, the ground truth of Sarasvati. Not only that. They are also helping the Government to make us listen to the gurgling sounds of the river’s waters.




If we see the images gathered by Indian Remote Sensing Satellites, we see Sarasvati born in the Himalayan glaciers traversing through Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat states and joining the Arabian Sea beyond Rann of Kutch. Total length is 1600 kms. In many segments, ONGC has found groundwater resources and aquifers. In the desert region of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, when 13 bore wells were construction, at a depth of 35 to 40 metres, groundwater reservoirs were discovered. They have noted by carbon dating, that this water is dated to circa 4000 years before present. The desiccation of River Sarasvati mentioned in the Puranas relates to this period. ONGC has taken this up as a part of its social responsibility and has made available drinking water from 4 such bore wells to the local villages. This ONGC project is also called Sarasvati. It can be said that this discovery has provided the impetus for a series of steps in the project for reborn Sarasvati. .

Starting as a canal

Since 1986, efforts were started by some voluntary organizations for the rejuvenation of River Sarasvati. The initiatives started by Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan in Haryana have inspired the Government to move ahead with the project. In 2002 when NDA Government was in power, 40 ft. wide, 12 feet deep, 50 km. long Sarasvati Mahanadi Roopanahar (canal) was  constructed. Starting from Mohangarh in Rajasthan, work is ongoing to extend the nahar by an additional 100 kms. to reach the waters to Gujarat region. Receiving its share of Narmada waters, one project is for Rajasthan to make available Sutlej waters through this nahar right upto Rann of Kutch. This rebirth of Sarasvati is also a part of the Gujarat Government 2010 Swarnajayanti project. On the upstream stretches, Haryana Government has demarcated the entire ancient channel of River Sarasvati almost across the entire state. They have noted that this Sarasvati Nadi which flows only during monsoon season was once a segment of the Vedic River Sarasvati. Combining with this, Haryana Government has allocated funds for the reborn Sarasvati for a stretch of 250 kms. Project work has started since February (2008). The project is proceeding apace to attain the objective of improved availability of drinking water and water for irrigation and promotion of tourism along the river bank.  Archaeology Survey of India has discovered about 1000 ancient archaeological settlements on the Sarasvati River basin. Some of these are sacred pilgrimage sites dating back to the Vedic period. If Sarasvati reemerges as a perennial river (jivanadi), that is in its original state, the benefits of the project will not be restricted to the above-said three states alone. Experts opine that Reborn Sarasvati will act as an impetus for Interlinking of Rivers all over the nation. It is not an easy task to bring a millennia-old river back to life again. Together with clarity of project objectives, support of the people is also required. From the satellite images, it is seen that the width of Sarasvati ranged between 3 to 8 kms. On this river basin, evolved many peoples’ settlements of villages. It is a great challenge to re-settle, in some cases, the people whose settlements are superimposed on archaeological sites. For this purpose, Government and non-government organizations are working together to make progress. For the Reborn Sarasvati, many Water Shed Management Projects, Projects for diversions of tributaries into the main stream are in progress. Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat Governments are very enthusiastic about the importance of this project. In ten years’ time, we can see River Sarasvati, said Kalyanaraman, Director of the Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp.


When Sarasvati appears again as a perennial river, what we have been referring to as ‘Sindhu Civilization’ should get recognized as Sindhu-Sarasvati Civilization.

Eenadu Telugu Newspaper, 21 December 2008 (Translated from Telugu)

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