|Save Ganga Movement|
A NATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR A NON-VIOLENT CULTURE OF DEVELOPMENT
We all agree that the river Ganga with its pure water and the Himalayas with its natural flora and fauna are invaluable not only for our country but also for the entire world. Yet it is greatly agonizing, anguishing and alarming to see that year after year we are doing more and more harm to the natural forests and wildlife of the Himalayas, and in spite of our launching the Ganga Action Plan in 1985 and spending hundreds of crores of rupees for this purpose, the pollution levels of the mighty Ganga continues to be alarmingly high, even though we know it to be the lifeline of crores of our people and crores of our people consider her to be their divine mother. According to UNDP Human Development Report 1998, there are more than 29 cities, 70 towns and thousands of villages located on the banks of the river, depositing every year more than 13 billion liters of sewage directly into it. Another 260 million liters of industrial wastes are added to this by hundreds of factories along the riverbanks. Besides, to this, are added the run off from more than 6 million tones of chemical fertilisers and more 9000 tones of chemical pesticides.
Rivers are invaluable for us and will remain invaluable forever as the direct or indirect source of drinking water for crores of people. Similarly our forests will remain invaluable forever as the natural preserver of our invaluable water, topsoil, medicinal plants and wildlife. Hence discharge of untreated effluents from industries and untreated sewage from the cities and towns to the rivers must be strictly banned throughout our country and time-bound decisive steps must be taken to transform one third of our land into forests. Present paradigms of development need to be reviewed, which have been causing perpetual harm to our life-sustaining natural systems. Present forms of development must be tempered with the principle of non-violence, which is the base of all ethical principles. Surely, our country has moral and spiritual resources to provide to the world the example of a culture of non-violence and Truth (i.e. the true ultimate meaning of life) which can meet the challenges of the present technological age. (For Gandhiji's view on Truth and non-violence, please see the Note entitled " Gandhiji on Truth and non-violence".) Our future generations will condemn and curse us if we fail to take now the right steps in the direction of preventing the impending catastrophic ecological crisis in the twenty first century, which otherwise can have devastating implications for them.
Sixty years ago we achieved Independence as a result of the great non-violent struggle under the leadership of Gandhiji, one of the greatest apostles of non-violence. A non-violent society through non-violent means was the explicit ideal of our freedom struggle. It is very sad to see that today the modern civilization, which Gandhiji denounced to be a soulless civilisation of lust for pleasure and wealth, is spreading like a wildfire throughout the country. While various traditional major forms of violence, such as injustice to women, caste and class injustice, communalism, exploitation of rural masses by the urban still continue to exist, a potentially much greater kind of violence in the form of pollution and destruction of forests and wildlife is rapidly growing in the name of development.
According to the report of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published on 20th March 2007, apart from the Ganga, the Indus, Nile, and Yangtze are among the 10 most endangered rivers of the world, that are lifeline of billions of people. Global warming could cause more hunger in poor countries and extinction of many animal and plant species and melt most glaciers of the Himalayas, which is the source of the Ganga, the Indus and many other great rivers, by the 2030s, according to a draft UN report published on 6th April, 2007.
Unfortunately our leaders in political and industrial domains, are showing utter indifference to the impending devastation ecological crisis. The intellectual and spiritual leadership can exercise pressure on the establishment to adopt a form of development based on the principle of non-violence.
Form and Objectives of the Save Ganga Movement
Ganga, the cradle of the Indian civilization, is considered to be the holiest river by crores of Indians. It is the lifeline of crores of people of our subcontinent; they depend on its water for drinking. Millions of people come to bathe in the sacred river during religious festivals. About 47 per cent of the total irrigated area in the country is located in its basin in its 2525 km. Stretch . Yet it is alarming to see that even after 18 years of launching the Ganga Action Plan in 1985 through various government channels, the Ganga is getting more and more polluted. Pollution levels in the mighty river continue to be soaring. The river has turned into a sewer overloaded with chemical pollutants from industries and toxic pesticide residues. Its water is severely contaminated with bacterial and viral pathogens, particularly around the places of human inhabitation. The same is true for the Yamuna, the Gomti, its two main tributaries, and many other great rivers of our country.
With the help of many like-minded organisations and with the moral support from many religious leaders, spiritual and political, scientists, environmentalists, writers and social activists, we initiated Save Ganga Movement against the pollution of river Ganga and its tributaries with a seminar on "Ganga aur hamaaraa daayitva" on 13th Nov. 1998 at Kanpur. Renowned Gandhians, Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna and Dr. Kanchanlata Sabarwal, also joined the Movement.
The objective of the Movement is, on the one hand, to create scientific awareness among the masses against the environmental degradation in general and the pollution of the Ganga and its tributaries in particular; on the other hand, to put moral pressure on the government, to completely ensure that industries do not discharge their effluents into the Ganga and its tributaries and no sewage is allowed to enter into them without proper treatment. No lasting solution to the impending devastating ecological crisis is possible without creating mass awareness.
We intend to convert this Movement into a mass awakening campaign across the country for the protection of life-sustaining environment in general and of the sacred Ganga, the Himalayas and its wildlife in particular.
Activities of the Save Ganga Movement
Save Ganga Rally at Delhi (12th Nov, 2000)
To achieve this objective a fervent appeal was made to the Hon'ble Rashtrapati K. R. Narayanan for his guidance and active support in this cause. A national campaign was launched with a mass rally in Delhi on 12th Nov. 2000, with blessings from the then Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and many eminent spiritual leaders including His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchikotipuram, Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani of Sadhu Vaswani Mission, Pune. Several Gandhians, intellectuals and social activists, participated in the rally.
Save Ganga Yatra From Gangotri To Gangasagar (May 2002 - Nov 2003)
The Save Gangas rally paved the way for organizing a country-wide Save Ganga Yatra from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar spread over three years. It was the idea of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna to undertake this Yatra, to create mass awareness against the pollution of the Ganga and its tributaries. Shri Bahuguna has been with us as a great moral force from the very beginning. The Yatra was conducted in three phases.
First Phase : from Gangotri to Haridwar, 19-26 May, 2002.
Second Phase : from Lucknow to Varanasi, 17-24 Nov, 2002.
Third Phase : from Varanasi to Gangasagar, 22-30 Nov, 2003.
With enthusiastic participation from the masses and blessings and good wishes from national and spiritual leaders including Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchikotipuram, Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani of Sadhu Vaswani Mission, Pune, Revered Apa Shripad N Kulkarani, Pune, Rev. Swami Tejomayanandji of Chinmaya Mission, Mumbai, Rev. Swami Smaranandji of Ramkrishna Mission, Vellur, renownned Gandhian late Usha Mehta, eminent writer late Sri Bhishma Sahni and several eminent scientists, it was completed with a grand success.
In the course of Yatra, many meetings were held in major cities and towns situated on the banks of the river Ganga. This included three seminars and six workshops in which several intellectuals, social activists, Gandhians and religious leaders and many distinguished scientists took part. Many national scientific institutions such as CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute) Lucknow, ITRC (Industrial Toxicology Research Centre) Lucknow, NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Reaserch Institute) Nagpur, IIT Kanpur, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi also joined in the Yatra and helped us in every possible way to make it a great success.
First phase of the Yatra commenced in Delhi with prayers at Bapuji's Samadhi at Rajghat by offering prayers for the success of the mission. It was followed by a workshop at the National Gandhi Museum, inaugurated by Shri Vijay Goel, Union Minister of State. A highlight of the Yatra was Sunderlal Bahuguna's passionate plea that deforestation of the Himalayan region is the major cause of soil erosion and melting of glaciers. Afforestation will be a major step in preventing this malaise : "Forests are natural water tanks and these can serve people as their natural water resource." Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, eminent computer scientist, expressed his willingness to launch a Save Ganga Website with the aim of creating "a platform for networking of organisations and people, and for creating awareness on the importance of the Ganga and other rivers of the country to make these rivers pollution free". Shri Jayakrishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, gave a resume of the progress made in various schemes under Ganga Action Plan - Phases 1 and 2 . Mrs. Rama Rauta, Convener of the Save Ganga Movement beckoned:
We must strive to replace the present culture of echo-hostile development by a culture of non-violent eco-friendly development, and make the Ganga and its tributaries completely and permanently free from pollution as a first major step in the direction to introduce a culture of development based on ethics.
The Osho World Foundation, New Delhi, sponsored the Workshop and joined us in the Yatra from Delhi to Devprayag; Parmarth Ashram of Haridwar sponsored the Yatra from Haridwar to Gangotri.
Second phase of the Yatra commenced with a seminar in Lucknow on 17th Nov 2002. The Seminar was inaugurated by Smt. Tara Gandhi Bhattacharya, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, and chaired by the noted Gandhian Dr. Kanchanlata Sabarwal. It was sponsored by the Lucknow Nagar Nigam , the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and C.M.S. Lucknow. Other halts of the Yatra were in Kanpur on 19th Nov 2002, sponsored by the Rotary Club in the Merchant Chamber of Commerce, and in Allahabad on 20th Nov 2002, sponsored by Allahabad Nagar Nigam. The Yatra concluded on 23rd Nov 2002 at a historic meeting in Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, sponsored by Sankat Mochan Foundation, Varanasi. Many prominent scientists from Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, and Varanasi participated in these meetings.
Third phase of the Yatra started on 22nd Nov 2003, with a puja performed by Swami Gyanand Saraswati at Assi Ghat, Varanasi. A programme of shramdan, along with a National Seminar, was arranged in which thousands of students participated. The Seminar was inaugurated by Shri Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and joined by eminent Gandhian activist Dr. Subba Rao, and many spiritual leaders, distinguished scientists and political dignitaries. The Seminar was hosted by Banaras Hindu Univversity, Varanasi. Major halts were at Patna University, Patna on 24th Nov, presided by Prof K.K Jha, Vice Chancellor of Patna University, and at the Chinmaya Mission in Calcutta on 28th November, presided by Swami Advaitanand of the Chinmaya Mission. The Yatra concluded on 30th Nov 2003 with prayers at Ganga Sagar.
Speakers and participants in these meetings and rallies expressed their deep anguish over the nation's failure to make the Ganga free from pollution in spite of the Central government launching the Ganga Action Plan in 1985, and spending hundreds of crores of rupees for this purpose. It was stressed that since our rivers and forests are our invaluable heritage, constituting the lifeline crores of our people, we must take time-bound decisive steps to make all our rivers completely and permanently free from pollution and transform one third of the land into forests.
This historic Yatra was initiated by enthusiastic groups from Pune, representing National Women's Organization, Vedic Research Centre, India International Multiversity, and in the course of the Yatra Mumbai-based Mahatma Gandhi Foundation and Rehmani Foundation, along with Kabir Peace Mission at Lucknow, and Rakshat Gangan Aandolan at Varanasi participated as co-organisers.
National Save Ganga Seminar at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (22nd Nov, 2003)
In the National Save Ganga Seminar at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, on 22nd Nov, 2003, many comprehensive reports presented by experts pointed out that "even with the available knowledge, skill and money, the Ganga could be cleaned completely within two years." Lack of will and apathy of our political leadership and almost total apathy of our bureaucrats to solve the problem is mainly responsible for our failure and our intellectuals' failure to create the necessary mass awareness is its root cause. The Nation's moral bankruptcy is evident in not being able to eradicate none of our various major social evils even sixty years after our Independence.
National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj' (October 2004)
Many constructive ideas emerged from the enthusiastic response at different levels of participants during the course of the Yatra. An action plan was prepared in the form of "the Charter of Ten Demands to Save the Ganga" to draw the attention of the Union and State Governments in consonance with the goal of the Yatra. (See the Charter of Ten Demands.) In the National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj' held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti as a part of our Save Ganga Movement at Gandhi Darshan Samiti, Rajghat, Delhi on 1st and 2nd October 2004, the Charter of Ten Demands were unanimously accepted to be the Ten Commandments for establishing in our country a culture of development based on the principle of non-violence. A book entitled Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj, published by Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad and NWO, Pune was released in the workshop.
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March, Delhi (12th March, 2006)
We organized a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March from Bapuji's Samadhi at Rajghat to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 12-03-2006, the76th Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra, and formally presented the Charter of Ten Demands in the Office of our Hon'ble Rashtrapatiji in the form of an Appeal to Save the Ganga and the Himalayas. It was unanimously resolved to celebrate the Day of Dandi Yatra, 12th March, every year in the form a Save Ganga & Save Himalaya March from Bapuji's Samadhi to Rashtrapati Bhavan till the necessary steps are taken to completely and permanently save the Ganga &the Himalayas. A delegation comprising of Smt Rama Rauta, Rev. Vincent M. Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi, Rev. Swami Nikhilanandaji of Chinmaya Mission, Delhi, Shri Vasant Gadgil of IIMV, Vedic Research Center, Pune met our Hon'ble Prime Minister on13th March 2006 at 9.30a.m and presented the charter of Ten Demands in the form of an appeal to Save The Ganga & The Himalyas. The Prime Minister has said that he considers the Ganga to be the soul of India and has assured that his government would certainly take the necessary steps as soon as possible to save the Ganga and the Himalayas. (Please see the report on the Save Ganga March at Delhi on 12th March 2006)
National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj' , Haridwar (October, 2006)
The 2nd National Workshop on ‘Gandhi, Ganga and Giriraj' was held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti as a part of our Save Ganga Movement from 1st to 3rd October 2006 at Haridwar, Uttaranchal to discuss further deeply on various major issues concerning Protection of the Ganga and the Himalayas as well as to create public awareness about it. As a part of the event, a seminar on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj' was held at M.C. Mehta Environmental Foundation, Eco Ashram at Haridwar on 1st and 2nd October 2006 in which many distinguished persons such as Shri M.C. Mehta, Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, Dr P. Puspangadan (ex-director NBRI, Lucknow), Dr. T.K.Gosh, Deputy Director, environmental Biotechnology Division, NEERI, Nagpur, Shri Arun Kanti Biswas,Senior Scientist, Kolkata Zonal Laboratory, NEERI, KolKata, Eminent Scientst Dr M.L.Dewan, Chairman, Himcon, New Delhi, Rev. Acharya Arun Chaitanyaji, Chinmaya Mission Shri Devendra Sahai& Mrs Shipra Sahai, DEEP, New Delhi participated. The participants expressed their deep concern for Tehari Dam's failure to produce electricity because of too much silt in its water. The seminar was sponsored by M.C. Mehta Environmental Foundation, Eco Ashram. Many eminent persons such as H.H Sankaracharya of Joshi Math, Tara Gandhi Bhatacharya, Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna Smt Rama Rauta, Rev. Yogacharya Dharmdas, Ananda Sangh, Gurgaon, Acharya Sri Arun Chaitanyaji, Chinmaya Mission, Sri Ansul Srikunj etc., addressed the public in a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Public Meeting held at Har Ki Paudi, Haridwar on 3 rd October2006. Rama Rauta asserted that our posterity would not forgive our spiritual leaders if they allow silently the slow death of mother Ganga and our other great rivers. The Public Meeting was organized by Bharat Jagriti Mission, Hardwar. (Please see the thematic note of the seminar on "Ganndhi, Ganga and Giriraj" for the details about the issues discussed in the seminar.)
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March, Delhi (March, 2007)
We organised the 2nd Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March from Bapuji's Samadhi at Rajghat to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 12-03-2007, the77th Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra in the Centenary year of his Satyagrah in South Africa. A delegation comprising of Smt Rama Rauta, Rev. Sawami Nikhilanandaji of Chinmaya Mission, Delhi, Rev Fr. Charles D'Souza, Archbishop's House, Delhi, Anushree Rauta, NWO, Pune met Hon'ble Rashtrapatiji 4.30 p.m and presented the Charter of Ten Demands in the form of an appeal to Save The Ganga & The Himalyas. He was pleaded with to ensure that government prevents completely dumping of untreated sewage from cities and towns and effluents from industries to rivers. (Please see the report on the Save Ganga March at Delhi on 12th March 2007)
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March, Delhi (March, 2008)
We celebrated the78th Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March from Bapuji's Samadhi at Rajghat to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 12-03-2008 . H.H. Vincent M. Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi, Hon,ble Member of Parliament Shri Rewati Raman Singh, Dr Priya Ranjan Trivedi, President, World Institution Building Programme, Dr M.L. Dewan, President, HIMCON and Gandhian Activist Smt Rama Rauta, Convener of the Save Ganga Movement led the March. Many distinguished persons such as Dr. Ashok Srichand, President, Ganga Sewak Samaj, Allahabad, Shri Promod. R.S, Secretary, Jain Swetamber Terapanth, New Delhi , Smt Rekha Udit, Secretary, Global Warming Reduction Centre, New Delhi, Shri Manish Kumar Shekhar, President, Khadi &Village Industries Development Agency of India, Dr. Pramod Talgeri, Vice Chancellor, India international Multiversity, Pune , Shri Madhav Aslekar, Registrar, India International Multiversity, Pune participated in the march. The March commenced with prayers near our beloved Bapuji's Samadhi at 8:30 a.m on 12th March 2008 and concluded with the formal presentation of Our Charter of Ten Demands to Save the Ganga and the Himalayas in the form of an Appeal to our Hon'ble Rashtrapatiji at the Rashatrapati Bhavan. (For the details about the event, please see the report on the Save Ganga March at Delhi on 12th March 2008.)
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion, Gandhi Darsan (March, 2009)
We celebrated the 79th Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion at Gandhi Darsan, from 9:30 a.m. to 1.pm, commenced after prayer near Bapu's Samadhi, Rajghat, New Delhi on 12th March, 2009. A delegation consisting of Smt. Tara Gandhi Bhattacharyajee, H.H Swami Tejomayanandji, Shri M.C. Mehta, H.H. Swami Nikhilanand, Revered Bishop Franco Mulakkal, and Smt Rama Rauta met our Hon'ble Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 5.45 p.m. at his residence and requested him to implement all Our Charter of Ten Demands to Save the Ganga and the Himalayas, which was presented to him after our Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Rally at Delhi on 12th March 2006. To our deep satisfaction the Prime Minister said that the government accepts in totality Our Charter of Ten Demands and said again that he considers the Ganga to be the soul of India. He said that the Government has also taken up a National Mission for saving the Himalayan Ecosystem as a part of the National Action Plan for Climate Change. (For the details about the event, please see the report on the Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Function at Delhi on 12th March 2009.)
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting-cum-Panel Discussion at Gandhi Darsan, New Delhi (12th March, 2010)
We celebrated the 80th Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting-cum-Panel Discussion at Gandhi Darsan, Rajghat, New Delhi on 12th March, 2010. Shri Jairam Ramesh, Hon'ble Minister of Environment & Forests was the Chief Guest.. Smt.Tara Gandhi Bhattacharyajee, Dr Smt. Kumada Joshi, Shri M.C. Mehta, H.H. Swami Nikhilanandji, H.H.Archbishop Vincent M.Concessao, Dr. G.D.Agarwal, Dr.Vijay Bhatkar, Dr. A.K. Merchant, Dr. T. Chakrobarti, Dr. K.J Nath, Dr .U.N Rai, Shri J.K Bassin and many other distinguished scientists and social activists participated in the function.
Save Ganga & Save Himalyas Yatra Badrinath-Rameshwar (Oct - Dec 2010)
We completed with grand success the 1st & 2nd phases of our "Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Yatra from Badrinath to Rameshwar" which commenced with a Gita- Ganga Gyan Maha Yagna along with a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Exhibition from 21st to 24th October 2010 at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi ( organized by Chinmaya Mission, Delhi). In the course of the Yatra we held successfully Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Seminars /Workshops at Hardwar on 26th October (organized by NBRI Lucknow and Chinmya Vidyalaya, Hardwar), at Rishikesh on 27th October (hosted by Paramart niketan) and at HNB Central University, Srinagar on 29th October(organized by HNB Central University). The 2nd phase of the Yatra from Vrindavan to Varanasi commenced with a Save Ganga & Save Yamuna Workshop at Vrindavan (organized by Dr. Mohini Giri, Chairperson, Guild of services) on 5th December 2010. In the course of the Yatra, we held deeply satisfying quite successful Save Ganga Workshops/ Meetings at IIT, Kanpur on 7th December, (organized by IIT, Kanpur) at Allahabad on 9th December (organized by Chinmaya Mission & Ganga Sevak Samaj, Allahabad) at Sankat Mochan, Varanasi on 10th December (organized by Sankat Mochan Foudation, Varanasi) and at BHU, Varanasi on 11th December (organized by BHU, Varanasi). There was an essential agreement on the following two points:
•1. The highly earth quake prone, eco-fragile Uttarkhand region of the Ganga Basin must be declared "Ecological Fragile" and its rivers "wild river" and all steps must be taken to protect them and the natural eco-systems they support.
•2. Since our rivers are the source of drinking water for crores of our common people and also for the animals and STPs cannot convert sewage into potable water, industrial effluents and hospital wastes treated or untreated and also sewage from the cities and towns treated or untreated, must not be allowed to enter into the rivers: sewers must be separated from rivers and sewage must be converted into valuable natural manure for organic farming, producing electricity in the process wherever possible. (For the details about the Yatra, please see the report on the 1st and 2nd phases of our "Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Yatra from Badrinath to Rameshwar." )
The main objective of our "Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Yatra from Badrinath to Rameshwar" is to bring together under one roof various like-minded organizations and like-minded eminent persons from different streams of life (like-minded experts from national laboratories such as NEERI, Nagpur IITR, NBRI, Lucknow, IITs, Universities, etc, like-minded eminent youth leaders, political leaders and leaders of Industries, religious leaders & religious institutions of different faiths, Gandhian leaders & Gandhian institutions, social activists & NGOs, etc.) to devote to the cause of creating:
Seminar cum Panel Discussion on "Gandhiji on Development, Environment, Morality and Spirituality", Aga Khan Palace, Pune ( 30th Jan, 2011)
We organized a Seminar cum Panel Discussion on "Gandhiji on Development, Environment, Morality and Spirituality" at the Aga Khan Palace on Gandhiji's Punyatithi, 30th Jan, 2011. The Panel discussion was devoted to the issue of cleaning the rivers of Maharashtra with special reference to Pune-Rivers through "Pond System" and "Plant Based Management of Sewage and Waste Treatment." In the function a charter of Six Demands in the form of an Appeal to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to Save the Rivers of Maharashtra was unanimously accepted. As a part of our Save Ganga Yatra, the 30th January function was followed by a series of Save the Rivers of Maharashtra Seminars/Meetings at various important cities located in the Godavari and Krishna Basins in Maharashtra. The seminars/meetings we organized and sponsored by SERI, Pune.
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting-cum-Panel Discussion, New Delhi (12th March, 2011)
We celebrated the 81st Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion at Gandhi Darsan, Rajghat, New Delhi on 12th March, 2011 in which a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Resolution was unanimously passed. H.H. Swami Tejomayanandaji, H.H. Swami Chidanandji, H.H.Swami Agnivesh, H.H.Swami Nikhilanandji, H.H. Acharya Lokesh Muni, H.H. Paramjit Singh Chandok, H.H. Swami Dharmanandji, Fr. Sebstien, Dr. Mohini Giri, Shri M.C. Mehta, Dr Vandana Shiva, Sri Rajendra Singh, Dr. Mohan Singh Rawat Gaonwasi, Prof. P. Pushpangadan, Prof. Rajavashistha Tripathy and many other distinguished scientists and social activists participated in the function. (See the Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Resolution in our website).
Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting-cum-Panel Discussion, New Delhi (12th March, 2012)
We celebrated the 82nd Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion at Gandhi Darsan, Rajghat, New Delhi on 12th March, 2012. The topic of discussion was "What We Must Do to Save the Ganga." (For the thematic note, see the note "The Means to Save the Ganga' in our website.) The function was dedicated to Swami Gyan Swarup Sanadji (Prof. G.D. Agarwal) who had been on a fast unto death since 14th January, 2012 to press for the conservation of the Holy Ganga. An appeal to our Hon'ble Prime Minister to take immediate action to accept the Save Ganga Recommendations/ Proposals of Swami Sanand on behalf of the Ganga Seva Abhiyanam (GSA) and save his valuable life was made unanimously in the National Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion. Last year's Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Resolution was again unanimously passed in the Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Function and was sent to the Prime Minister along with the Appeal. The Save Ganga Recommendations/ Proposals of our Save Ganga Movement and of the Indian Parliamentarians Forum for Save Ganga & Himalayas and of the Ganga Seva Abhiyanam (GSA) of are essentially the same: they have a common core and are complementary to each other with reference to non-core Recommendations/ Proposals.
The Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion was attended by various eminent persons from different religions and from different streams of life. Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh, MP Smt. Rama Rauta, Convener, Save Ganga Movement, Dr. Mohini Giri, President, Guild of Services, Dr. Vandana Shiva, President, Navdanya Movement,Shri M C Mehta, Advocate, Supreme Court, HH Swami Chidanand Muniji, Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, HH Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, New Delhi, Dr. A.K. Merchant, Bahai House, New Delhi, Prof. Paritosh Tyagi, Chairman, Scientific Research Committee, NGRBA, Dr. R Shanker, IIT, Roorkee, Shri Vijay Panjwani, Advocate; Dr. Sandeep Joshi, SERI, Pune; Shri Hemant Dhyani, Ganga Ahwan Movement, Uttarkashi, HH Lokesh Muniji, Ahimsha Vishwa Bharti, HH Jagad Guru Ramanandacharya Swami Hans Devacharyaji, HH Swami Avichal Das, President, All India Sant Samiti, Gujarat, HH Maha Mandleshwara Dharmendra Devji Maharaj, Swami Devendraji Maharaj, Guru Man Singhji, Swami Parmanandji, General Secretary, All India Sant Samiti, Gujarat, Dr. Shyam Asolekar, IIT, Mumbai, Member GRBMP, Smt. Tara Bhattacharyaji, Vice President, Gandhi Dharshan, Shri Rajneesh Mehra, oZ Group, Prof. Masahisa Nakamora, Center for Sustainability and Environment, Shiga University, Japan, Swami Mohananand (Lal Baba), Shri Mohan Singh Gaonwasi, Ex- Minister, Uttarakhand, HH Brijraj Sharanji, Maan Mandir, Varsana, Mathura,Dr. Vinod Bhatt, Navdayna, New Delhi, Er. Vinod Km Aggrawal, Mokshda PEVSS, New Delhi, Smt. Chitra Kesarwani, Mokshda PEVSS, New Delhi, Dr. Vikash Shukla, Comm. Coordinator, NMCG, NGRBA and a number of other persons were also present in this seminar. (For the details about the event, please see the report on the Save Ganga& Save Himalayas Function at Gandhi Darshan, Delhii on 12th March 2012.)
We are sincerely trying to bring various like-minded Gandhians and Gandhian institutions in to the main stream of our movement. It is greatly agonizing to see that Gandhians and Gandhian Institutions are hardly doing anything substantial to complete the unfinished work of our beloved Bapu, the apostle of Truth and non-violence of our age. Gandhiji would have given top priority to create a mass Satyagraha to replace the immensely eco-hostile form of development of modern Western civilization by an eco-friendly non-violent form of development. (For suggestions to transform Gandhian Institutions into centers of moral and spiritual awareness, inter-religious dialogue and harmony, and social transformation based on ethical foundations, please see the Note entitled "Saving Gandhi and Gandhian Institutions in India" in the website).
It is deeply satisfying that our Save Ganga Movement has succeeded to a great extent to bring under one umbrella various like-minded eminent scientists, social workers and organizations, Gandhians, spiritual leaders and organizations to work together for the absolutely non-controversial noble cause of Saving the Ganga and the Himalayas.
The Philosophy of the Movement
It is highly immoral to pollute the essential requirements of life such as air, water and land and destroy forests for the sake of luxuries. The very survival of wildlife depends on these forests which are the natural store house of invaluable top soil and medicinal plants. All religions, directly or indirectly, accept universal non-violence, i.e. non-violence to both human and non-human life, to be the root of ethics, although none would consider it to be immoral to cause unavoidable harm to lower form of beings for one's essentials. They all consider the natural systems which sustain healthy life to be sacred and invaluable. The present form of development has caused disappearance of tens of thousands of plant and animal species and continues to cause greater and greater damage to our life-sustaining natural systems. We must replace it by a form of development which is based on the principle of non-violence.
Unlike the explicit anthropocentric ethics of modern western civilization, the Oriental ethics has been explicitly life-centric. Great teachers and seers of the ancient Indian civilization explicitly accept universal non-violence to be the foundation of ethics. They have conclusively shown that the enlightened selfless ethical life of love constitutes the core of Truth, i.e. of the true ultimate goal of life, its pursuit making constant effort to grow towards ethical perfection, constitutes the core of its means. They clearly perceive that enlightened unselfish ethical life of love is intrinsically blissful and invaluable for us, and that our love for human beings is bound to be highly imperfect if we interact cruelly with our fellow non-human beings. Any person through conscious effort can progress in the path of Truth from evil to good life, from selfish good life to unselfish good life, from unselfish good life to enlightened selfless good life and from it finally to Truth, i.e. to perfect enlightened selfless good life. At the same time, they explicitly accept that the pursuit of wealth and pleasure within the limits of ethics is essential not only for the pursuit of the ultimate goal of life, but also for sustainable development and prosperity in society. (Gandhiji's views about morality, spirituality and religion are presented in the Notes entitled "Gandhiji on Science and Spiritulity" and " Gandhiji on Fundamental Unity and Truth of All Religions." In our website)
It is our deep conviction that our civilization has moral and spiritual resources to create a mass Satyagraha on the line of our freedom struggle under Bapuji's leadership to save the world from the impending massive ecological crises (Global Warming, Air, Water and Land Pollution, Destruction of Forests and Wildlife, Etc.), which has devastating implications not only for our future generations but also for all of us, for our entire life world in the long run. Surely, saving the Ganga, the Cradle of our Civilization and the lifeline of crores of our people, and the Himalayas which is the source of the Ganga and many other great rivers, would be a major step in the direction to create a culture of development based on the principle universal non-violence, which is the surest and perhaps the only means to prevent the impending global ecological crises. (For a discussion on this issue, please see the note entitled "Gandhian Solution of Global Ecological Crisis")
In the beginning of twentieth century, Gandhiji in Hind Swaraj, presenting a severe critique of technology-obsessed Western civilization, laid stress on the basic values of great teachers and seers of classical Indian civilization (Gandhiji's views on both the civilizations are presented in the Note entitled "Gandhiji on Classical Indian and Modern Western Civilization.") Let us not allow the consumerist glamour of the modern western civilization to replace her basic values from the core of our life. Let India, the birth place of so many great religions, which explicitly accept non-violence as the root of all ethical principles be an example of a non-violent culture of development to the rest of the world. Let us have a national Gandhian movement to complete the unfinished work of our beloved Bapuji, a movement to save and purify our civilization, a movement to have a culture of Truth and Non-violence where all religions could grow harmoniously in spite of their differences in the realm of metaphysics, and where development could take place with the loving care for our life-sustaining natural systems and countless variety of invaluable flora and fauna. Let us make an in-depth critical study of the Gandhian alternative and initiate a national and global debate on it.
Request for Sponsorship and Donation
Individuals or organizations desirous of helping or participating in our Save Ganga Movement are requested to contact me.
As we are self supporting, for all our activities, we have to depend on the funds generated through donation. Please draw the cheque/Draft in the name of National Women's Organization, Pune. Donations are approved under Section 80G of Income Tax Act, 1961.
Smt. Rama Rauta
Convener, Founder, Save Ganga Movement
Member, NGRBA, Govt. of India
President, National Women's Organization, Pune
Smt Tara Gandhi Bhattacharyajee
(Noted Gandhian Social worker)
Vice-Chairperson,Gandhi Smiriti & Darsan Samiti,
Tees January Marg New Delhi