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Essay, Paragraph, Speech on “The Ganges” Complete English Essay for Class 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, Graduation classes.

The Ganges

According to Hindu mythology, the river Ganges was once a river of heaven that flowed across the sky. She agreed to fall on the earth to help a king named Bhagiratha; whose ancestors had been burned to ash by an ascetic, to free them from the earth and raise them to heaven. Based on this myth, Hindus travel great distances to scatter the ashes of their loved ones in the Ganges with the faith that their dead will be ensured a smooth transition to the next life. Hindus also believe that one dip in the waters of the river Ganges can absolve them of a lifetime of sins and it is partially due to this belief that the Ganges has attained “sacred” status in India. The river is reverently called Ganga Ma- Mother Ganges. Despite what one may be inclined to make of this myth, the truth is that the Ganges does in fact display extraordinary powers of both creation and destruction in its long descent from the Himalayas. Her long journey from the mountains to the sea creates a river basin 200 to 400 miles that supports an estimated half billion people. The Ganges Basin with its fertile soil has supported the agricultural economy of India. The Ganges and its tributaries are a source of perennial water supply to the farmers living along its banks. The presence of swamps and lakes provide rich substratum that encourages the growth of several crops. Fishing along the river also provides livelihood to several. Hence it comes as no surprise that this mighty river is awarded such sacred status.

It is a paradox that the very life that Ganges supports is the source of her greatest threat- pollution. Organic wastes like sewage, trash, and the remains of both animals and humans account for a major part of the Ganges’s pollution. Add to that the industrial waste that is dumped into its waters and we have water that is no longer sacred but water that is unsafe for consumption. As a result of such pollution, water-borne, diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis are rampant. The fact that 80% of all health problems and one third of deaths in India happen to be caused by water-borne diseases is not a negligible statistic. Today the Ganges stands a chance of losing her credibility and it is becoming increasingly difficult for her to hold onto her sacredness. Yes, our beloved Gangesis running scared and we are the ones to blame for it. The truth is that the Ganges can no longer redeem herself.

In 1985, the government of India launched the Ganga Action Plan. Its intention was to clean up the river in selected areas by installing sewage treatment plants. Twenty-two years later not much has been achieved. The sewage plants that run on electricity are unable to function in an area where electricity is unstable resulting in pollution and purification continuing to swim in unholy wedlock. The Sankat Mochan Foundation spearheaded by Dr. Mishra has mobilized volunteers from all over the world. Since 2001, campaigners of this movement have cleaned up the litter, debris, and human and animal corpses from the river with their own hands. The situation has partially improved due to the efforts of these few. However, the task at hand is gigantic and the hands available but a few and given this situation the Holy Ganges seems to be running scared along its meandering way.

( 560 Words )


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