11 July 2008
By Pt. Anshul Shree Kunj President, Bharat Jagriti Mission and Editor-in-Chief, Mission Express
It is with great pleasure that I am writing a prologue to this great literary work The Holy Ganga, centred around the devotion and faith of millions of people living in various corners of the globe. This book is based on extensive research of the author during the course of the decade long movements and noble initiatives for preservation of the environment and ecology. The ancient scriptures and epics of India sing glorious songs in praise of the threefold river goddess Ganga. Lord Krishna defines the Ganga in Srimad Bhagavat Gita: ‘Gam prithvim gachhati iti Ganga’ which means: ‗The one that descends onto the earth from the heaven is the Ganga‘. He again says: ‘Ga avyayam gamayatiti Ganga’ which means: ‗The Ganga takes one towards the paradise‘.
The Indian culture of love, peace and fraternity imbibed all alien elements just as the Ganga moulds all hard stones that represent the ego, smoothing them in the process. Words fail me to describe the glory of the holy mother; my prayers seem so insignificant and insufficient in comparison to the magnificence of the glorious mother. My ardent wish is that mother Ganga resides in our hearts and souls.
The idea of writing a book on the Ganga got a fillip during a national seminar organised by the Bharat Jagriti Mission on 5 April 2008 with the theme: ‗Significance of the Holy Ganga in the Present Scenario‘. Numerous well—known environmental activists and thinkers along with various saints, social workers, politicians, students and common citizens participated in the programme chaired by His Excellence B.L. Joshi, the Governor of Uttarakhand. As a consequence of the brainstorming session, the Mission resolved to introduce devotees of the holy mother as its preservers. These dedicated devotees of the holy mother are called Ganga Rakshaks. Water is the basis of all life. In the present scenario, water crisis is the most severe and pervasive problem of the entire world. The average water supply in many corners of India is far below the global standard average per person. The water availability graph of the last fifty years reflects a sharp decline in the supply and availability of water. Today, India is a water stressed country with only four per cent of the total available fresh water of the world even though it forms sixteen per cent of the total global population.
Ganga, Yamuna and the entire Ganga system is one of the largest available fresh water resources of the nation, and these precious water resources are depleting at an uncontrolled speed. The destruction of water resources is a bigger crime than terrorism since it can destroy the entire community—millions of people and property worth billions in a single shot. Presently, the water resources are destroyed by uncontrolled pollution, greenhouse effects, indiscriminate mining and corporate maneuvering of the resources. In addition to these, politics of faith is yet another problem. These are just a few problems that challenge the very existence of the holy river and the great Himalayas.
In this context there was a need of a holistic literature on mother Ganga that chronologically throws light on her history, myths, significance and the present degrading situation. The author describes and offers simple and pragmatic solutions of various problems with a passionate, simple and impartial approach. He has made an earnest attempt to compile all the facts, legends and problems pertaining to the holy river from the beginning to modern times in the three sections. In all, the book is priceless offering to adorn any bookshelf.
The present volume is a call for a peaceful and dynamic movement to preserve the holy river, the great Himalayas and our planet from the impending catastrophe. The living water of the holy river is known for her curative properties and purifying characteristics. The Holy Ganga illuminates the spiritual, religious, social, economic, cultural and environmental importance of the Ganga along with more immediate problems of livelihood. I believe that the author of the book deserves my sincere gratitude for his marvelous and relevant literary contribution. The Ganga is just not a simple river; it is the flow of the nectar of immortality that sparks a current of life throughout the Indian subcontinent. The book is a necessary tool for creating awareness among readers about the Ganga‘s present state of pollution and helping evolve solution techniques.
I hope this volume awakens the consciousness of devotees and inspires every individual to join the Save Ganga Campaign. Once again, I thank Mr. Kaushal Kishore for his literary work. I would also like to thank Rupa & Co. for publishing this precious literature on the holy mother. At last, I pray to mother Ganga for the wellbeing of all and request all of you to preserve the sacred water of the holy river.