Ganges sewage…

This video is a award winning video on India TV news channel. I sent this video to India TV news channel and it was selected as the best video of the day and I won a color TV. Even though I had to pay twenty-five percent tax and had to make phone calls worth almost a thousand rupee and wait for six months but finally I got the television. I was not expecting for this much trouble but I had to do all the things. Even I had to go to Lucknow and bring the TV to Benares by bus. I used bus becasue I was scared of the police. They are always in the trains and at the railway stations looking for a new customer. If they see you travelling with anything big, new and expensive then they want a party from you. But I did not want to share my happy moments with the people who make others sad.

I made this video with Lane two years ago when he is was in India. We went together to the sewage discharge point in Nagwa and used his camera to make the video.

Nadia back to Singapore

Nadia left Benares on the 20th. She stayed at my place for one month while she was doing research for her photo documentary called child of Ganga. We wandered together to different places in Varanasi along the river. We went to see all the sewage discharge place. It was an amazing experience to be with Nadia along the river. I really enjoyed my time and learnt a lot of new things and saw a lot of new places where the sewage is directly discharged to the river.

Nadia says that she had expected to finish her research in one month but it was nothing for her, obviously people say that even one life is not enough to understand Benares. She plans to come back again next year and continue her research. Her documentary will be showed in university sometime in the month of March, 2009. I am excited for it. I was curious if she would give credit to me in her documentary or not and when I asked Nadia about it, she said if she doesn’t then she will be sued.

She is supposed to write a book as well and I would like to see my name in this book. I think Nadia did something different than other researchers who come to Benares. Usually foreign researchers don’t know about the events which take place once or twice in a year like when people make a pilgrimage by going to all the major temples of Varanasi and finally drink the sewage water, actually it is not supposed to be the sewage water, they are supposed to drink the water from the place where the river Varun mixes with Ganga but in reality Varuna is nothing accept a sewage.

We were waiting for this event but could not make it because Nadia left early. I am very much excited for the book which Nadia is going to write. I could talk her much about what she thought after spending a month in Varanasi because Nadia was always busy. I hope to see her again in future and help in her research.

Security and Sanitation or Satellite?

On 22nd of October, 2008 India launched Chandrayaan, a satellite, tocompile a 3D atlas of the lunar surface and map the distribution of elements and minerals.I am sure these kinds of work costs huge amount of money. Right after one month of this satellite launch India faced the biggest terrorist attack ever. Almost 200 people died and over 350 were injured in this attack.

Our fire department did not have big enough ladders to reach the target, they did not have any special clothing, they were wearing normal cotton clothes, a lot of policemen were killed because they did not have bullet proof jackets, I saw a video of a police man fighting terrorists with his old riffle and terrorist had very advance gun. This all happened because Indian government never thought to spend money on these things.

During Bihar flood this year, thousands of KGsof grains and food packets got rotten only because we did not have helicopters. There were only two helicopters covering whole Bihar. People were dieing of hunger and thirst. There was enough food but we did not have transportation system to bring it to needy people. Again it all happened only because Indian government never thought to spend money on these things.

Sanitation is a big issue for India. People piss on the road because we do not have public toilets, people throw garbage on road because we do not have dust bins, one sweeper is responsible to cleanup the whole neighborhood where more than two-three thousand people live, they discharge untreated sewage directly to the rivers, people also throw the garbage in the river because there is no one to educate them. All these things happens only because government never give priority to these works.

Sending settelites seems like too much show off work to me. I am sure more than 30% of the Indian people can not write the word moon and more than 50% of the people must not be knowing what a settelite is, and more than 97% of the people will not be knowing how Chandrayan will work or what will it do. Indian government has been continously talking about this project since they have started it.

I think we need sanitation, security and education first, and then settelite. I think it will be better to tell the ideas to some rich countries or tell them to fund the whole project or just sell the projects and spend the money where it is needed first. A lot of necessary things are not done in India only becasue of lack of money like we do not have good roads, we do not have enough schools, we do not have good public transport system. Why not spend money on these projects and give better life to Indians.

Pollution in Ganga

I started this blog right after listening a news on India TV news channel that Ganga is going to dried up in next 30 years. I don’t know what is going on with Indian people. What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for the river to become a past?
Ganga is the most sacred river for Hindus. Only a Hindu can tell his devotion for this river or may be not even him. I don’t have words to describe how devoted I am for this river. More than 50,000 people still take bath every day in the Ganga in Varanasi. People from all over India come Benares to take the sacred bath. But we don’t have sacred water anymore. Ganga is still sacred and will be forever but the water. My mother is very religious woman but she doesn’t want to take bath in the river anymore. She still goes to the river, touches the water but never drinks. Hindus make their God statues bathe by Ganga water because it considered as the most clean water on the planet but my mother has stopped bringing the Ganga water in the house temple.
I often talk about this problem to various people and everybody says that our government and few NGOs, that run program to clean the water, are responsible for the present condition of Ganga.
I often take a walk along the ghats of Varanasi and like watching the people taking bath in the river. But sometimes I dont understand how people could do this. I have also taken few baths in the river but can’t do it again. The water is completely black now. I work as tour guide with foreigners. So, I often go for boat ride. There is a ghat called Shivala ghat where a small sewage discharge can be seen. All the water near Shivala ghat is thick and has foam.

Shivala is not the only place where we can see the sewage water mixing with the river. There are more than 7 big discharge points and unlimited small ones also. I am sure we have enough resources to clean this river, not only Ganga but all the rivers. We are preparing for commonwealth games, we are investing huge amonut of money in development projects like roads and special economic zones, we have super subways now. Cleaning of Ganges is not a big deal any more for India but I dont know what our government is doing.