Vanishing River Ganga-The Soul of India

published on October 13, 2009

In the following translated above Sanskrit verse, ADI SHANKARA, offers his reverential salutations to GODDESS GANGA. The broad meaning of the verse is as follows:

“Oh Goddess! Goddess of all Divine Beings, Revered Ganga! One who helps
us to cross over the Three Worlds!
One who revels in the Crown of Lord Shiva, Oh Pristine One! May my mind
rest at Your Lotus Feet!
Daughter of Bhagiratha, Who confers all auspiciousness on the devout,
the greatness and sanctity of your pellucid water, has been affirmed in
the scriptures!
I, how ever could not grasp your Divine Glory; You are an Embodiment of
Compassion; Please save me from my abysmal ignorance!”

Ganga has been the National River of India from the dawn of history. The holy river Ganga is our most affectionate and merciful mother. Like any good mother, Ganga offers herself unconditionally to her children. She is always accessible to any one who comes to her shores for a purifying bath, or even remembers her glories from far away.

Mother Ganga has been extolled in ecstatic terms in all our scriptures.A verse in Sri Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Sri Ganga Devi has been described as follows: “Sri Ganga Devi has a white complexion. White garments and jeweled ornaments adorn her body. Millions of moons shower their effulgence upon her, whose ever-youthful form smiles eternally. She is
the beloved of Lord Vishnu (Krishna) and is forever endowed with fortune. She removes everyone’s sins and her feet grant liberation to all deserving souls. She is able to award one the Lotus Feet of Lord Vishnu, and thus she is known as VISHNU-PADI.”

In the Bhagavat Gita, when describing his glorious manifestations from age to age Lord Krishna declares: “Among the water sources, I am the Ganga.” Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) said: “The Gita and the Ganga constitute the Hinduism of the Hindus”

This sacred river Ganga — the river of India — beloved of her people — around which are intermingled her racial memories going back to the Vedic age, her hopes, urges and aspirations — is getting destroyed every moment, every day thanks to the mindless and directionless
development programmes being drawn up by the evangelical corrupt anti-Hindu Sonia Congress Government of India in New Delhi and the corrupt anti-Hindu pseudo-secular BJP Government in Uttarakhand State.

I have recently received a beautiful 8 page pamphlet published and issued by “GANGA AHVAAN”. I have presented the first page of this pamphlet at the top of this article. Ganga Ahvaan means the “Call of the Ganga”. Behind this great Ganga Ahvaan movement are four enlightened and fearless public citizens wholly dedicated to the sacred cause of protection of holy river Ganga against the combined onslaught of mindless development initiatives of Uttarakhand State and the evangelical Government of India. They are Ms Priyadarshni Patel, Dr (Mrs.) Meena Khilnani, Ms Mallika Bhanot and Mr Hemant Dhyani. Ms Priyadarshni Patel is a social worker. Dr (Mrs.) Meena Khilnani is an Earth Scientist. Ms Mallika Bhanot is a yoga teacher and Mr Hemant Dhyani is a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University doing research in Nano-technology.

Ms. Priyadarshini Patel is a resident of Gram Sainj, Uttarkashi. A progressive thinker and an active leader, she is presently the president of Sri Arya Trust, Arya Vihar Ashram, Uttarkashi. For the past 4 years, ever since the dams on the upstream patch of Ganga were introduced,
she’s been intensively involved in researching and analyzing the adverse impact of the dams on the Ganga river from Gangotri to Uttarkasi and down below upto Dehradun.. She directed and produced a documentary on the Ganga River called “Tripathagamini-a traveller in the three worlds”. Finally under Ms. Priyadarshini Patel’s inspiring leadership the GANGA
AHVAAN group has been formed. Living in the very area where these projects are coming up she has worked from the grass root level in the valley by creating a platform for all villagers to express their views via Ganga Ahvaan.

Hemant Dhyani, a Garwhali, and a former resident and student of Uttarkashi, is presently a research scholar of Nano Science and Technology in Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi. He has been in the forefront in the GANGA AHVAAN movement organizing meetings, researching on all the aspects of the adverse impact of the hydro projects on the villages of the area and raising levels of awareness in the valley.

Dr.Meeta Khillani is the head of Ganga Ahvaan, Jodhpur chapter. She is the one who has raised the voice in the desert and has helped to unite the voice of the people of Rajasthan with the residents of Gangotri valley. In January 2009, she organized Ganga Sammelan with focus on the theme of ‘Save Ganga and Save Heritage’, where scientists, farmers from Uttarkashi and concerned citizens came together to exchange their views. From then on started the movement of GANGA BACHAO in the beginning of this year. Dr.Meeta Khillani is a geophysicist by profession and has assisted Priyadarshini Patel in the making of the documentary “Tripathagamini”.  She is the chief technical brain of the Ganga Ahvaan

Ms Mallika Bhanot is the media manager for Ganga Ahvaan. She is a Yoga therapist by profession.

“GANGA AHVAAN” in their manifesto have stated that today the Government is in the process of building a cascade of dams along the Ganga, commencing near her source in the pristine Himalayas at GANGOTRI. These projects will join the Tehri Dam and the other dams right upto Haridwar.Thus the entire stretch of the Ganga from Gangotri to Haridwar will get
enmeshed and entrapped in a series of dams. This will be clear from the following map of the Ganga catchment area published by “GANGA AHVAAN”.

According to the “GANGA AHVAAN” these projects entail sheer destruction of the Himalayas through blasting, drilling and pulling down mountain slopes in the process of building tunnels and power houses. It involves cutting forests, trees, dirtying pristine and untouched portions of our mountains and scarring an entire valley permanently. Finally, since the projects are consecutive it entails pushing the entire Ganga River underground through dark, sunless tunnels with out a break.According to GANGA AHVAAN, if the Holy Ganga River in the entire stretch from Gangotri to Haridwar is to be saved, then the following projects
have to be stopped immediately:

1.    Bhairon Ghati I under consideration (just 9km from Gangotri)
2.    Bhairon Ghati II under consideration (directly following the
3.    Loharinag Pala construction started
4.    Pala Maneri about to start (directly after the above)

Professor G.D. Agarwal Professor Agarwal, former head of the Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur,undertook an indefinite fast in June 2008 against the implementation of many environmentally disastrous hydro-electric power projects on the 125 KM stretch of the Ganga River from Gangotri to Uttarkashi. His fast unto death evoked a very popular response leading to wide-spread and massive public protest. This forced the Uttarkhand State Government to review these projects and to stop work at Pala Maneri and Bhairon Ghati (both I & II). The Central Government, however, through National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) continued with the work at Loharinag Pala. Unable to tolerate this callous environment-terrorist attitude of the Government of India towards the sacred and merciful Ganga, Professor Aggarwal again
went on a fast-unto-death for 38 days from 13 January, 2009 to 20 February, 2009. He broke his fast after the Government of India gave him a written assurance to the effect that the Loharinag Pala project would be reviewed by a high-level expert group.

In February 2009, the Government of India announced the setting up of a National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). Accordingly, the Central Government has decided to give the Ganga the status of a ‘National River’. The NGRBA is an empowered planning, financing monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga River under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The Authority will be chaired by the Prime Minister and has as its members, the Chief Ministers of the states through which the Ganga flows viz. Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,Jharkhand and West Bengal. The Ministers of Environment & Forests,Finance, Urban Development, Water Resources, Power, Science & Technology and the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission will also be Members of NGRBA. The first meeting of the NGRBA held in New Delhi yesterday (5 October 2009) was presided over by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. It was decided at this meeting that no untreated municipal sewage and
industrial effluents would be allowed to flow into the Ganga in 2020!!!

As far as I can see this is an integral part of the typical procrastinating, ever postponing and never decisive policy of the Government of India. This fraudulent bid to make the Ganga river
pollution free by 2020 will also fail in the same grand manner in which the pollution-free Ganga policy announced by Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. A colossal amount of Rs 960 Crores has been spent so far on the “Save Ganga” project and the Ganga River is no cleaner today than it was two decades ago. It is also understood that at the NGRBA meeting held yesterday, it was
decided to keep the implementation of the four hydro-electric power projects on Ganga River from Gangotri to Uttarkashi — Bhairon Ghati I & II, Loharinag Pala and Pala Maneri — in abeyance for two months till further review.

The World Wild Life Fund (WWF) has reported that the Ganga is one of the “Top Ten Rivers at Risk” world-wide. So are the Himalayas in the “Top Twelve Endangered Places on the Earth”. Through the mindless and soulless implementation of the above projects, we as a Nation would be inflicting a disastrous and irreversible damage on both these Eternal
Assets of India.

Combined onslaught by the Evangelical, Islamic Anti-Hindu Government on these Sacred Hindu Symbols

So far  I had described as to how a plethora of ill-conceived and mindless Hydro-electric Power Projects undertaken or planned to be undertaken by the Government of India and
the State Government of Uttarakhand are destroying forever the source of the River Ganga, its catchment area in the Himalayan region from Gangotri to Haridwar. Ever since the evangelical, Islamic and patently anti-Hindu Sonia Congress Government came to power in New Delhi in May 2004, there has been a planned and continuous onslaught on Sanatana Dharma, Hindu Religion, Hindu Society, Hindu Culture and Hindu ethos. A dastardly attempt was made to destroy and obliterate all time honoured and sacred symbols of Hindu religion and culture. A totally corrupt, atheistic and blatantly anti-Hindu DMK Cabinet Minister called TR Balu
was specially chosen to give a death blow to Ram Setu at Rameswaram. On account of country wide protests by the Hindus of India and on account of the intervention of the Supreme Court of India, the combined wicked efforts of Sonia Gandhi, TR Balu and Karunanidhi to destroy this ancient symbol of Hindu culture and civilization have been foiled for the present.

Having failed to destroy Ram Setu, the Government of India today (taking hourly instructions from the Chairman of the UPA Coordination Committee) seems to be hell-bent on destroying the River Ganga—a sacred and timeless symbol of Sanatana Dharma and Hindu culture. ‘GANGA AHVAAN'(call of the Ganga), is a group of a few dedicated and enlightened citizens who are engaged in a non-violent struggle to protect and save the River Ganga against the onslaught of ongoing or planned Development Projects of Government of India and the Uttarakhand State Government in the 125 km stretch of Ganga River from Gangotri to

According to Ganga Ahvaan if the implementation of proposed Projects like Bhairon Ghati I (just 9 kms from Gangotri), Bhairon Ghati II (within 15 kms from Gangotri) and Pala Maneri is not immediately stopped and if the ongoing Loharinag Pala Project is not given up once for all
in the larger national interest of the very survival of the River Ganga, then this National River of India will dry up and wither away for ever, literally becoming non-existent in the very valley of her origin. The Gangotri glacier, 30.2 Km long, is one of the largest Himalayan glaciers. According to Earth Scientists, this glacier is reported to be retreating rapidly at an alarming rate of 23 m/per year. It has been forecast that by 2030 the Gangotri glacier would disappear forever. Ceaseless mining and tunneling activity through the deployment of heavy machinery in this eco-fragile Himalayan region so very close to the Gangotri glacier is only going to accelerate the pace of retreat of this glacier.


The already existent Maneri Dam I, 15 KM upstream from Uttarkashi, has only succeeded in causing a permanent damage to the quantum and pace of water on the Bhagirathi River. As against an installed capacity of 90 MW, this dam produces barely 40 MW. With this track record of known poor performance it is really surprising to note that the Government of India
and the Uttarakhand State Government are planning to have three more projects in addition to Loharinag Pala Project (already taken up and put on hold following wide spread public protests), on the 125 KM stretch on the Ganga River from Gangotri to Uttarkashi. I have no doubt that quite like the abortive Setu Samudram Canal Project these projects on the
River Ganga are also going to meet the same ignominious end.

Even the alien British Government in United Provinces in 1917 showed a better understanding of the feelings and sentiments of the people relating to the holy River Ganga than the callously anti-Hindu evangelical Sonia Congress Colonial Government of India today. In 1917,the then British Government came out with a plan to check the flood flow of the River Ganga at Haridwar. The feelings of the Hindus ran high. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya(1861-1946), an a handful of public spirited Hindu Kings from the Princely States of India and all the Sankaracharyas joined together and presented a united front to the Government in protest against their proposal to interfere with the flow of the River Ganga at Haridwar. The sensible British Government (quite unlike the wooden headed anti-Hindu monsters in the Sonia surrogate UPA Government today) relented. Mr R. Burns I.C.S., Chief Secretary of the United Provinces passed a Government Order Number 102, dated 20/4/1917 declaring the commitment and assurance of Government “to maintain a free flow of the Ganga.”

I am surprised to note that the Union Ministry of Environment in callous disregard of its own environmental norms should have given clearance to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report to the effect that no monument of historical, religious or archaeological value would get affected by the various hydro-electric power projects in the area between Gangotri and Uttarkashi. I spoke to Dr Agarwal, formerly Head of the Department of Civil Engineering in IIT, Kanpur, now living in Uttarkashi. He has been going on a public fast every now and then to lodge his protest against the various hydro-electric projects in this area. He told me in clear and categorical terms that the proposed projects have not taken note of the strategically vital issues of hydraulic feasibility, geological safety, economic viability and environmental impact as per standard scientific methodology.

The almost definite and stark possibility that the Ganga River herself — a shining and transcendental symbol of Hindu culture — might get obliterated from the map for e
er and that this would grievously wound the time-honoured religious feelings and emotions of the Hindus of India seems to have been deliberately overlooked by the Union Ministry of
Environment. The known anti-Hindu pseudo-secular soulless bureaucrats in that Ministry cannot be expected to have either sacred feelings or emotions or sentiments towards Mother Ganga. They derive their inspiration for all things non-Hindu and anti-Hindu from the Italian
Sonia Gandhi Government and their team of venal non-descript Ministers, all of whom have nothing but indivisible contempt for all the sacred symbols of Sanatana Dharma like the River Ganga and Ram Setu.

When the Sonia Congress Government in collusion with anti-Hindu DMK government of Tamil Nadu, wanted to destroy the Ram Sethu as an integral part of the Setu Samudram Project, it was Dr Subramanian Swamy who moved the High Court of Madras and the Supreme Court of India and saw to it that the implementation of this disastrous project was kept in abeyance by the Government of India. In the same manner, he has now come forward
to assist voluntary groups like the Ganga Ahvaan in their non violent and peaceful struggle to protect and save the Mother Ganga. I am presenting below the copy of the letter he has sent to our Prime Minister on October 3, 2009:

“Dear Manmohanji,

I write this letter in continuation of my earlier letter regarding the Ganga River issue which concerns millions and millions of Hindus. In particular, I am referring not only about the dams on Ganga River at various points from Bhagirathi River stage, BUT ALSO TO DIVERSION OF THE WATERS THROUGH TUNNELS IN SUCH A WAY AS TO MAKE GANGA DISAPPEAR FROM PUBLIC EYE.

As you know, Hindus worship Ganga as a divinity and hold it sacred. Any damage or destruction would invite Section 295 of the IPC and hence the Government cannot commit any illegality if the fundamental character of free flow of the Ganga is damaged, distorted and deformed or otherwise destroyed.
I congratulate you on your decision to set up a National Ganga River Basin Authority. On October 5, at 10.30 A.M. at 7, Race Course Road, you are holding a meeting of the said Authority.

I am given to understand that Agenda No. 5 is regarding Lohari Nag-Pala Project for considering the rather ill-thought out opinion of the Solicitor General that the Authority may be requested to give its clearance to the said project. I do not know on what basis the Solicitor
General decided on recommending clearance but I would like to point out that the same Solicitor General had caused huge embarrassment to you by the affidavit in Rama Setu matter when the Supreme Court was hearing my petition to stay the project. Subsequently the Government had not only to change the affidavit but also change its Counsel, namely, the same
Solicitor General.
I am planning to move the Court on this issue since development projects can not be considered sustainable unless it is in harmony with the civilizational values of the society. Therefore, kindly do not give clearance to the Lohari Nag Pala Project or any other projects on Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand.

In this connection it would be appropriate if you invite as a special invitee, or otherwise, some of the sincere NGO groups that are working in Uttarkashi, to depose before the Authority. At present you do not have any experts Authority members, who know the area. I hope therefore that you will not compel me to go back to the Courts, as was the case of Setu Samudaram Project.”

Dr Swamy’s letter seems to have had the desired impact. The implementation of projects (three proposed and one ongoing) on the Gangotri, Uttarkashi stretch of the Ganga River has been put on hold for two months pending further review, at the first meeting of National
Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) presided over by the Prime Minister in New Delhi on 5 October, 2009.

To conclude:

“Where government injustice becomes greater than we are,Where its callousness becomes swifter than we are,Where anti-Hindu government horror becomes stronger than we are,Help us not to tire.”

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