Rejuvenation and Preservation of Our Great River Mothers and Sustainable Food Production
(Some Food for Thought and Soul)
We must know that our present population is more than 138 crores and is expected to cross 150 crores by 2030. Global warming and climate change is bound to cause greater and greater deadly agro crises and food crises in the coming decades. For example, mother Ganga would become a seasonal river due to melting of the Himalayan snow, with great adverse effects on our food production in the Ganga basin. We must give top priority to take the necessary steps for sustainable food production to meet the food needs of our masses of both the rural and urban India and give due importance to our agro sector in our development plans, policies, and activities and take the necessary steps for sustainable food production. We must protect the right to life of our farmers through enacting some necessary laws ensuring the farmers get guaranteed minimum support price and insurance for their produce. It is highly deplorable that more than 2 lakh 95 thousand farmers have committed suicide since 1995. (Latest report of NCRB, India)
We must also enact the necessary laws ensuring rejuvenation and preservation of our great river mothers and their sources of our great mountains and forests, without which sustainable agro-production is not possible.
We must know that rejuvenation and preservation of our great river mothers and their sources our great mountains and forests, is absolutely necessary for ensuring permanent water, food, air, and health security to our masses, future generations, and the dumb and deaf life-world, and rejuvenation and preservation of our National River mother Ganga, which is the life-line of nearly 40 percent of our population, and her source the Himalayas, would be a major step in the right direction for the rejuvenation and preservation of our other great river mothers and their sources. They provide their invaluable services freely with zero use of fossil fuels. We have the necessary knowledge, skills, and wealth to rejuvenate and preserve them within a few years by exercising our rational moral will-power. But under the spell of the glamour of the lust for pleasure and greed for wealth-based present culture of development of modern civilization, which Mahatma Gandhi rightly considered being satanic and a nine days wonder only, we are showing great apathy for this great noble cause. Like-minded intellectuals and spiritual leaders, individually as well as collectively, must sincerely try to create the necessary public awareness to put moral pressure on the government through some mass Satyagraha to take the necessary steps for the rejuvenation and preservation of our great river mothers and their sources as soon as possible. To begin with, let us create public awareness to put moral pressure on the government to enact the following laws as soon as possible: (1)The National River Ganga Rejuvenation and Preservation Act, (2) The Himalayan Ganga Basin Rejuvenation Act, (3) The River Rights Act, and (4) The Tree Rights Act. ( For the contents of the Acts, please visit our website: savegangamovent.org)
Note-3: Importance of Mother Ganga for Sustainable Food Production
Unfortunately, even though thousands of crores of rupees have been spent to clean our National River mother Ganga, the river is grasping for breath under unbearable pollution, even though we know that mother Ganga is the life-line of nearly 40 percent of our country's population, the natural pure Gangajal (water of Ganga) has the unique health-promoting bactericidal, non-putrefying, self-purifying qualities and crores of people consider her to be divine mother, and the polluted water directly or indirectly causes health hazards like cancer, respiratory diseases, renal failure and many other water-borne and water-related diseases and is extremely harmful to the aquatic life of mother Ganga. Construction of big dams and eco- hostile tourism is causing great harm to the invaluable natural ecology of the highly eco-sensitive, earthquake-prone, aesthetically, and religiously invaluable Himalayan region of the Ganga basin.
A naturally flowing fresh and clean Ganga freely and permanently meets various water requirements of the people on her banks, and all along with her flow recharge the groundwater improves the fertility of farmlands through her slit, provides the habitat for various forms of life, etc. The dense natural forests of the Himalayas prevent floods, provide habitat for Himalayan life-forms, provide seasonal fruits, nuts, edible oil seeds, honey through its flowering trees and medicines through medicinal plants, store invaluable water and natural manure, and freely contribute to the fertility of the agro-systems of the entire Ganga basin deposing fresh nutrient-rich silt through free-flowing rivers. We must promote natural/ organic farming in a massive way for providing healthy food to our masses, maintaining soil fertility, checking the groundwater degradation, reducing water requirements of crops, and also reducing non-point sources of rivers such as hazardous chemicals from agricultural run-off into the rivers. Methods of irrigation and agricultural practices need to be changed keeping in view the E- flow requirements of mother Ganga and sustainability of groundwater in the Ganga basin. We must transform the Ganga Basin into a sustainable source of healthy food for our country.
Note-4: Importance of Pure Air, Pure Water, Pure Food and Trees & Forests for Us
Pure air, pure water, pure food, pure sunlight, etc., are necessary for health, and health is necessary for the pursuit of all the four purusharthas of life, i.e. Arth(wealth) Kama (pleasure) Dharma ( ethics), and Moksha (liberation). Our great seers explicitly claim that the pursuit of Dharma is not only necessary for the pursuit of Moksha, but also necessary for the pursuit of Artha and Kama. The pursuit of wealth and pleasure within the limits of Dharma is absolutely necessary for lasting happiness peace and prosperity in society. But under the spell of the glamour of the present culture of development of modern civilization, which Mahatma Gandhi considered being satanic and a nine days wonder only, for satisfying our greed for wealth and lust for luxuries, in the name of development for the welfare of the common people, we are destroying the natural eco-systems which are invaluable for pure air, pure water, pure, pure food, etc.
Importance of Natural Forests for Us: (A) Forests reduce storm run-off and the possibility of floods, and give us firewood, seasonal fruits, nuts, honey, and materials for making house and furniture, etc., (B) Forests will remain invaluable for us forever (a) as the nature preserver of invaluable water, topsoil, medicinal plants, and wildlife, (c) absorber of carbon dioxide and producer of oxygen, and also (d) accounting for the great majority of inland rain through evaporation and transpiration by trees. Considering the great importance of trees for us in the context of the impending catastrophic global ecological crises, we must have a law ensuring throughout the country the policy of promoting reforestation wherever it is possible with zero deforestation as far as possible with zero killing of the trees older than 50 years except as a last resort for some essential services, ( The Trees Rights Act).
We must always remember that in the context of our present global environmental crises, the more and more concrete forests are bound to create less and less natural forests, and less and less natural forests is bound create less and less pure air, pure water, pure food, etc. But in the context of our present age of massive power science and technology, it is not possible to stop the growth of more and more concrete forests without having a culture of development based on minds with divine characteristics. And it is not possible to have such a culture without having critical character-building ethics education from the beginning of our education system. We must introduce critical character-building ethics education along with environmental education and health education (both science and ethics) from the beginning of our education system.
Note- 5: Conclusion
Let India provide the world a profoundly ethics-based, eco-friendly, village friendly & agro-friendly, sustainable & equitable, loving and caring non-violent culture of development based on minds with divine characteristics, and save the world from the impending catastrophic global ecological crises, along with the present all-pervasive deep-rooted global moral and spiritual crisis.( See The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16 for a discussion on divine and demoniacal characteristics.)
Let us transform the basin of mother Ganga, through a Gandhian Mass Satyagraha, into an example of the flourishing ground of a profoundly ethics-based, nature-friendly, village-friendly & agro-friendly, sustainable, equitable, loving, and caring culture of decentralized industrialization and urbanization, and save India and through it the world at large from the impending catastrophic global ecological crises, including the crisis of global warming and climate change, along with the present all-pervasive deep-rooted global moral and spiritual crisis. Let us have a comprehensive vision of transforming our mother India into a spiritually enlightened secular kingdom of moral and spiritual righteousness / Rama Rajya/ Kingdom of God by 2047, the centenary year of our great country's independence, and the world by the end of the 21st century, and solemnly resolve to sincerely try to the best of our abilities to work for this supremely noble cause.
Let us always remember the invaluable message of mother Bhagavad Gita, the supreme scripture of Yoga: "Lust for pleasure, anger, and greed are the triple gates of hell, destructive of soul. Hence one must abandon these three." (The Bhagavad Gita 16.21) Let us also always remember the profoundly valuable messages of Albert Einstein: "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." "If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live."
With goodwill, and prayers
Mrs. Rama Rauta
Founder, Save Movement
President, National Women's Organization, Pune