Report by Rakesh Misra & Shelley Kasli
A Gangaputra is Born
Everyone born in Ganga river basin is a Gangaputra,
however it is only through one’s own karma that he actually becomes a Gangaputra.
– From the upcoming book of Kaushal Kishore, author of The Holy Ganga
On a bitterly cold morning on 19 February 2011, Shivananda’s disciple Nigamananda sat under a mango tree in the ashram compound and started an indefinite fast. He was protesting the stay order by the high court Bench that had allowed Himalaya Stone Crusher to continue its activities. Matri Sadan’s allegation was that the stone crusher was functioning in the Kumbh Mela area, which, according to state government regulations, should be free of any stone quarrying or crushing activity.
This was Matri Sadan’s 30th Satyagraha against illegal sand and stone mining over the past 14 years. Nigamananda had previously participated in five of them — fasting for extended periods, which on occasion stretched into a couple of months.
Over the past 10 years, the state government had sent Shivananda and his disciples to jail thrice for staging agitations.
Nigamananda (who had studied in Delhi and, poignantly, left a middle-class home in Bihar in 1995 in search of ‘truth’) and Matri Sadan, the ashram he belonged to, had been waging a humbling and heroic battle against Haridwar’s mining mafia.
It was finally shut down only after the Uttarakhand High Court ordered its closure on 26 May, 25 days after Swami Nigamananda had slipped into a coma and 16 days before he passed away.
The order by the two-judge high court Bench headed by Uttarakhand Chief Justice Barin Ghosh is full of censure and tells its own strong story. The Bench wrote:
The crusher owners got their license renewed from time to time by the executive authority concerned despite the resistance raised by several social activists… representatives of the surrounding villages. One of the most prominent resistances was manifested by the saints of Matri Sadan Ashram whose location, as it appears, is not far from this crusher. But their voice proved to be a wild-goose chase against the influence of the crusher owners, gen was perhaps an outcome of this high profiteering calling. Under the garb of lifting boulders, the crusher owners started to dig the floor and banks of national river Ganga, causing deleterious affect not only upon the entire surrounding society but also upon humanity at large.
Everything the court said upheld the allegations Matri Sadan had leveled for more than a decade.
“Due to consistent digging and mining in the Ganga by Himalaya Stone Crusher and others, the river has become deepened and as a result the groundwater level has depleted in the thousands of acres of surrounding land. Even hand pumps in the villages in the area have been without drinking water in their borings.
Because of dust emanating from the crushers, the agricultural production in many villages has been reduced to nullity. So is the case in surrounding orchards, especially of mangoes, forcing the farmers to sell their lands to crusher owners. The illegal mining has also caused soil erosion in large swathes along the Ganga.
The Himalayan Stone Crusher was being run in violation of the Mining Policy 2001, which mandated that crushers should be at least 5 km from any human habitation. The suspended particles released by the crushers are causing diseases like tuberculosis, asthma and other respiratory diseases to local villagers.
The crusher, located in the agricultural green belt and also ecologically fragile zone, was never granted the NOC by Haridwar Development Authority.”
Finally, Nigamananda died on 13 June 2011, in the same hospital, in the same ward where Ramdev was being treated in the ICU, after just seven days of fasting. Baba Ramdev knew how to catch attention. Infamously, he also knew how to run. Swami Nigamananda didn’t know how to do either. While Ramdev was hogging national attention with emotive issues like declaring all black money stashed abroad as “national wealth” and threatening to hang the corrupt, far away from media glare, Nigamananda, 38, had been fasting for a mind-boggling 68 days for something much more concrete — and of even greater national implication. Nigamananda was fighting to save the Ganga.
Briefly, the glaring ironies around the stories of the two men created a furore. But soon — in death as in life — the real and urgent cause Nigamananda had been fighting for was quickly forgotten.
But it would be a great mistake to leave it as forgotten. What Nigmanand did lit an eternal flame; the spirit and conviction of which was ignited in another unwavering saint Baba Nagnath who took on the bastion from Gangaputra Nigmanand and continued the heroic struggle for the preservation of Mother Ganga.
Tapas of Gangaputra
Some try to find the Guru by shaving their heads at the Ganga, but I have made the Guru my Ganga. – Shri Guru Granth Sahib
After the death of Ganga Putra Nigamananda, the Ganga Mukti Movement reached in its second phase. There is a thin-line demarcation between the two phases of the Ganga Mukti Movement. The line draws with the fact that all life the martyr was denied from any recognition for his contribution, as if the goddess exacted from him the very last part of his individual surrender. In the second phase of the movement the entire world knew that there is a Gangaputra somewhere in a corner doing austerity like the King Bhagiratha.
Many prominent experts and activists gathered to discuss the issue of the Agony of Ganga in Delhi between 14th and 15th July 2012. The press release of the conference clearly states that the participants unanimously agreed for the Aviral and Nirmal Ganga (free and uninterrupted flow). In addition one more Baba emerged out of this program.
Shri Arun Kumar ‘Panibaba’ declared the Avahanam as a campaign of penance for the sins committed in order to pollute the Ganga. Panibaba campaigns with Swami Anand Swaroop (Anand Pandey) in different places on the banks of the Ganga.
On 13 June, 2013 to commemorate the death anniversary of Swami Nigamanand (his associates alleged he was poisoned at the behest of powerful stone crusher lobby), the 80-year-old former IIT professor, who is now known as Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand (G D Agarwal)started his fast.
Swami Dayanand of Matri Sadan Ashram said Agarwal resumed his fast because despite repeated assurances of the government, 18 proposed mini and major hydropower projects on the Ganga and its tributaries have not been scrapped.
Swami Sananda operates under the banner of Ganga Seva Abhiyanam and his guru is the head of this mission. Swamiji comes from western part of Uttar Pradesh with a scientific background. Dr. Agarwal successfully stopped some of the hydro projects of Uttarakhand when he has initiated his struggle.
The third face was Baba Naganath, who hails from the ancient streets of Kasi and lives amidst the burning pyres of the Manikarnika Ghat. He started his tapas on November 29, 2008 and stopped taking foodstuff with a sankalp to see the natural free-flow of the Ganga. Naganath did not eat for more than last four years, and police forced him to hospital many times during this period. He was on glucose drips and medication. After 5 years, 7 months and 12 days of fasts almost 2050 days his body became stiff, he could hardly bend his hands. In order to support the protest or tapas of Naganath the doms of Manikarnika stopped burying the dead bodies for a couple days on several occasions in these last five years.
“This is a dam built with our tears” – Sunderlal Bahuguna
The Tehri Dam – is the highest dam in India and tenth tallest dam in the world. It is a multi-purpose rock and earth-fill embankment dam on the Bhagirathi River near Tehri in Uttarakhand, India. The dam is a 260.5 metres (855 ft) high rock and earth-fill embankment dam. Its length is 575 metres. Tehri Hydro Power Complex (2400 MW), comprises the following components:
- Tehri Dam & Hydro Power Plant (1000 MW)
- Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project (400 MW)
- Tehri Pumped Storage Plant (PSP) (1000 MW) (Total capacity 2400 MW)
Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) is a joint venture of the Government of India and the state government of Uttaranchal. In 1986 an Indo-Soviet agreement brought Soviet expertise and aid of approximately $416 million to the project. In 2001 the German export credit agency Hermes guaranteed loans to Voith Siemens Hydro to provide generating equipment for Tehri.
Although land acquisition started in 1979, resettlement of affected people is far from complete. There is no master plan for rehabilitation nor even a clear estimate of the number of people affected. Past estimates range from 67,500 to 97,000. This estimate excludes a large number of people who will lose their lands but have not been officially recognised as project-affected.
Among those officially recognised, only half of the fully affected, and very few of the partially affected families have been resettled. In most cases the land allotted is of poor quality or with multiple ownership claims.
Tehri Dam has met strong popular resistance from its earliest days.
In 1978 a Committee to Oppose the Tehri Dam or the Tehri Bandh Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti (TBVSS) was formed. TVBSS succeeded in pressuring authorities to review the project on several occasions.
The project was abandoned in the mid 1980s after being sharply criticized on environmental grounds by a government appointed review committee.
In 1987 the project was again referred to a committee of the Ministry of Environment to assess its safety and environmental and social impacts. This committee unanimously ruled against the project but the Indian government overruled its findings and restarted the project.
After a 74-day hunger strike in 1996, Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Gandhian activist and long-time opponent of the dam, forced the government to set up a review of the seismic, environmental and rehabilitation aspects of the project. The Hanumantha Rao Committee submitted its report and recommendations in 1997. The government has failed to implement most of the committee’s recommendations, especially those concerning rehabilitation.
In 1992 environmentalists filed a case in the Supreme Court alleging that project authorities had not acquired the mandatory environmental clearance for the dam. The petition addresses environment, seismicity and rehabilitation issues. The case is currently pending.
Since November 29, 2008 Baba Nagnath was on fast demanding uninterrupted flow of the River Ganga that was affected owing to the construction of the Tehri Dam that was built over the Bhagirathi River, which is also considered a part of the Ganga in Uttarakhand. Lately he had been admitted in ICU of Banaras Hindu University Medical College in Varanasi.
I have been on an indefinite hunger strike since November 29, 2008, for the uninterrupted flow of the River Ganga. During this period, I wrote many letters to the authorities to attract attention to my cause, but till now no action has been taken. There was also correspondence with the administration, but it was again of no use. Due to this, I am in this condition today.
Nagnath further stated that his cause is very important to him and he does not mind dying for it.
I can give up my life but cannot leave my resolve for the uninterrupted flow of the Ganga. And if I die without achieving my cause, then the government will be responsible for this.
Gangaputra Baba Nagnath passed away early this morning on 11th July 2014 after an epic struggle of 2050 days fast at a hospital in Varanasi.
At this juncture we would like to pause and understand what drove these great sages; the vision these modern day Gangaputras were actually fighting for.
Legend of Ganga
That end which a creature is capable of attaining by penances, by Brahmacharya, by sacrifices, or by practicing renunciation,
one is sure to attain by only living by the side of Bhagirathi(Ganga)
and bathing in her sacred waters.
– Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 27, Verse 26
Once King Sagar – the ruler of Ayodhya and an ancestor of Lord Rama successfully performed the Ashwamedha Yagya for 99 times. Each time, he sent the horse around the earth it returned to the kingdom unchallenged. However, Indra – the King of God’s became jealous of King Sagar’s success. So when King Sagar performed the sacrifice of the 100th time, Indra kidnapped and hid the Yagya horse in the hermitage of Kapila Muni
In search of the horse, sixty thousand princes from Ayodhya reached Kapil Muni’s hermitage. They mistook the sage to be the abductor and attacked him. An enraged Kapila Muni burnt the 60,000 princes to ashes. On hearing about the plight of his father and uncles, King Bhagiratha – one of the grandchildren of King Sagar requested Kapila Muni to grant a solution to the problem. Kapila Muni advised that the waters of the river Ganga would miraculously bring back the dead princes to life.
King Bhagirath left his kingdom and began to mediate for the salvation of the souls of his ancestors. It is said that Bhagirath observed a penance to Brahma for a thousand years, requesting Ganga to come down to earth from heaven and wash over his ancestor’s ashes to release them from a curse and allow them to go to heaven. Pleased with the devotion, Brahma granted Bhagirath’s wish but told him to pray to Lord Shiva, as he alone could sustain the weight of her descent.
Accordingly, Lord Shiva held out his thick matted hair to catch the river as she descended. The meandering through Shiva’s lock softened Ganga’s journey to the earth and the holy waters of river Ganga thus washed away the ashes of Bhagirath’s ancestors. A modified version of the legend says, what reached the earth were just sprinkles from Lord Shiva’s hair. The Ganga, thus, became an attribute of Shiva. This manifestation of Shiva is known as Gangadhara.
The legend is re-enacted by devotees of Lord Shiva as they give a bath to the linga during worship. And for this reason, many devotees prefer to take a dip in the holy water of river Ganga on a Shivaratri day.
River of Life
Maano to hai Ganga Mata, Na maano to behta pani.
One may, by putting forth one’s best powers, count the stones that occur in the mountains of Meru or measure the waters that occur in the ocean, but one cannot count all the merits which belong to the waters of Ganga.
– Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 27, Verse 97
There is no scripture in our vast body of spiritual literature from the Vedas, Mahabharat and Ramayan to the eighteen puranas to even the Holy Quran and Shri Guru Granth Sahib that do not mention the purity and glory of the Mother Ganga and several have elaborate hymns in her praise.
Yet in our ‘modern’ age we seem to be forgetting this uniqueness and considering this holy river no more than a flow of water to be harnessed for hydro power.
Around last decade of eighteenth century a British bacteriologist, aeronautical theorist and naturalist Ernest Hanbury Hankins carried out research on the water of the divine river Ganga.
His research was interesting! He found that ‘vibrio choleri’, the virus causing the epidemic cholera, dies out within three hours when treated with the water of the Ganga. The results were published in Annales De Institute Pasteur, No 10, pg 511-523 in the year 1896. Earlier, such types of researches were performed by different researchers on a number of rivers in Europe and America. Prof. Krylov earlier recorded that vibrio choleri lived for nearly 568 days in water of the Russian river Volga, Prof. Smitowich reported that it lives for several months in the wells of Russia. Japanese scientist Yano found that the vibrio remained alive in sterilized water for 245 days! But, Prof. Hankin’s research was a complete surprise as he reported that the vibrio in no case lives more than three hours in the water of the river Ganga!
The British government in India invited Prof. Felix D’Herelle, who was nominated for Nobel Prize eight times during his life, to study cholera. It was 1927. He was accompanied by Dr. Malone, from McGill University, and Dr. Lahiri. He repeated the experiment of Prof. Hankin extensively in terms of time and number of samples. He found that not only vibrio choleri but also B. Coli, which causes dysentery, dies out within four hours when comes in contact with the water of the river Ganga! His findings were published in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Vol 1(4), pg 195-219. From Prof. Felix to Prof. C S. Nautial many researchers studied the virus/bacteriophage nature of the water of the Ganga and published the results in different high impact journals.
Dr Masaru Emoto, the Japanese scientist and water researcher, revealed the true nature of water and how thoughts and vibrations affect the molecular structure of water. In his years of water research, through high speed photography of thousands of water crystals, Dr Emoto has shown how our thoughts and intentions can alter physical reality.
Experiments over the past four decades have investigated whether intention affects properties of water. This question is of interest to complementary and alternative medicine research, and especially for therapies involving intention, because the adult human body consists of approximately 70% water. The question has been studied by comparing the effects of intentionally “treated” water versus untreated control water on the germination and growth of plants, including barley, wheat, rye, beans, cress, radishes, and lettuce. Other properties of water that have been examined include rate of cooling, molecular bonding as reﬂected by infrared spectra alterations, Raman spectroscopy, scattered laser light, and pH level. Although formal metaanalyses have not been performed on these studies, overall, the experiments provide evidence suggesting that various properties of water may be inﬂuenced by intention.
Interest in this topic has been rekindled recently by claims suggesting that intentionally inﬂuenced water can be detected by examining ice crystals formed from samples of that water. The speciﬁc claims that positive intentions tend to produce symmetric, well-formed, aesthetically pleasing crystals, and negative intentions tend to produce asymmetric, poorly formed, unattractive crystals.
Using a new method of investigation called ‘microphotographic analysis’ tests were carried out on 9 samples of Gangajal from Gangotri to Haridwar taken during the ongoing Kumbh. These were sent to Switzerland, Acquaviva where the Ganga crystals were photographed by people totally unconnected and unaware of our traditions and cultures.
What followed was astounding not only to them but also to us. The Ganga crystals form a hexagonal structure that is found mainly in pure spring water. The beautiful hexagonal structure of the crystals remained largely unaltered over the large stretch of approx. 300km despite being dammed and polluted. It is also important to note that usually rivers or waters with hexagonal structures get altered once they come in touch with contamination.
In Tehri dam one can see the contracted almost suffocated image of the crystal and then it manages to expand again at Haridwar where Acquaviva investigators felt it takes the form of a ‘crown’ – through their own intuition. It is no coincidence in our mind that at Har ki Pauri where indeed she is most worshipped as a Goddess especially during the Kumbh the crystal reveals itself like a crown.
The researchers reach the same conclusion that our scriptures speak of – ‘polluting substances or other negative energies do not contaminate it due to the great amount of worship and prayer of which it is recipient.’
Even if thousands and thousands of sinners
touch the dead bodies and bathe in thee,
all those will be destroyed
when devotees and worshippers will come and touch thee.
– Devi Bhagvatam, Skanda 9
Introduction and Explanation of Micro-Photographic Analysis of Water
by Tiziano Paolini, Aqua Viva
The pictures of the water crystal are taken examining a droplet of frozen water under the microscope. The crystal appears on the tip of the droplet and one must have the ability to choose the right spot and moment to take the picture. The dimensions we work with are in thousandth of a millimeter therefore precision is a very important factor.
The shape of the crystal is given by the union of molecules through the hydrogen bond. Molecules receive an ‘order from above’ to arrange themselves in a certain way and this ‘order’ is a high-frequency wave which no scientific device can perceive while water can.
If we expose grains of sand lying on a metal plate to the vibration of a violin bow we will observe the grains arranging themselves in a specific geometrical form (more on this in later articles, see video to understand the concept).
If by analogy we substitute the grains of sand with the molecules, and the sound vibration with a ‘vibration from above’ (a super-sensory/celestial vibration), we will have the pictures you are looking at. In fact water has the ability to make visible a dimension of reality which has been upto now unknown.
Excerpt from the letter by the Aquaviva lab that carried out the study:
On our side there was a bias when we began this work, as previous information had described the Ganges as one of the most polluted rivers in the Planet.
It was therefore a surprise and a wonder that in nearly all these tests the water has manifested the shape of an hexagonal crystal that is normally found only in pure spring waters. The presence of this hexagonal shape means that this water maintains its original characteristics through contact with its source and that polluting substances or other negative energies do not contaminate it due to the great amount of worship and prayer of which it is recipient.
It is therefore evident that the positive thoughts sent to it by those who love the Ganges prevail over the negative chemical and physical characteristics that occur when the river is mistakenly seen as only matter.
The history of the Maha Kumbha Mela is associated with the story of creation of amrit (the divine nectar) and vish (poison). The water of the river Ganga is like amrit, which is capable of providing a disease-free long and healthy life, as laboratory experiments revealed in recent days. Hence, it is a necessity not only for the four million people of the eleven states situated on the Ganga- Jamuna doab but also for every India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari irrespective of their religion and language. It is our national need. The Ganga was declared the national river in the year 2009. Perhaps, it is the only river that has got such a status. But, we the advocate of mechanical life theory are turning the divine nectar into deadly poison through our passion of making heavy industries.
In view of this it is absolutely vital that the river be allowed to flow undiverted and untrammeled, so that this profound and subtle interchange between her devotees and herself is carried on as it has been for centuries and she can maintain the essential energy and spiritual force that is her gift to humanity. In fact the very word Ganga comes from the Sanskrit root verb ‘gam’ which means ‘to flow’.
Spirit of Gangaputra
There is much anguish among the various communities after losing two Gangaputras in a short span of 3 years. What has happened is the concentration of two opposing groups on either sides of the issue. Most of us are already aware of the part the establishment played in the issue through mainstream reporting. However not much is reported about the other side. We atGreatGameIndia interacted with many leaders of the resistance who shared their valuable insight and further action on the subject.
Acutely aware of the dynamics and the phase the Ganga Movement has reached,Deepak Malviya a dedicated Ganga devotee and a life-long revolutionary initiated theGanga Alliance in association with Servants of the Peoples Society founded byLalalajpat Rai bringing together many different groups, activists, experts, professionals, politicians and religious heads dedicated to the cause and to carry forward the legacy of these fearless Gangaputras. In a candid talk Malviyaji told us that Swaraj and self-reliance the cornerstones of our freedom struggle and the national consciousness that emerged out of it seem to have disappeared in this age of Entrepreneur Babas and Celebrity Reformers. In such a state what would the government do to the dreams of Gangaputra Nagnath who sacrificed his life demanding Ganga-rights ? That would depend on the kind of reactions that comes up from the common populace on this martyrdom in Banaras. The death of Nagnath is an inauspicious indication to the Hindu Nationalist government, the advocates of Ganga reform.
Dr Onkar Mittal, President of Society for Action and Community Health (SACH) and a prominent grassroot activist in the Ganga Alliance believes Baba Nagnath Tiwari was a saint in the legion carrying the legacy of Gangaputra Nigmanand. All his life thanks to the establishment he lived like a pendulum swinging between hospital and math. Finally histapasya ended same like Nigmanand in the ICU. This was a second sacrifice after 3 years for the esteem of Ganga.
According to Trilochan Shastri, administrator of one of the most famous temple Tulsimanas Mandir who knew Baba Nagnath personally; Baba aka Pappu Bhaiya had shown a happy surprise at the victory of his favored Loksabha candidate Narendra Modi and was very hopeful after he became the Prime Minister. Baba was overjoyed dreaming of the beginning of AccheDinafter 16th May. He truly hoped the new government would leave no stones unturned in achieving his long cherished aim of free and uninterrupted flow of river Ganga. But when no positive indication was found in the new Budget he was hurt beyond repair. The apparent crisis that would arise from the expanding network of tunnels and the perplexity of rail lines started to haunt him. He could not emerge from this deep setback and said his last goodbyes to the world. The sorrowful end to this Gandhian Satyagrahi would always be remembered as symbol of a rude shock to the basic foundations of the Indian Constitution.
Mr Shastri who himself is a renowned astrologer further added that he could not understand why the new government chose to begin it’s regime in the Bhadra Nakshtra believed to be a bad omen to start any new enterprise in; that too amidst fierce protests from orthodox Brahmins. According to him Baba Nagnath was the first victim of the cursed Modi regime.
However there are others who believe that the first victim of the cursed Modi regime; who was arrested dramatically on the very same day exit polls predicted a victory for the BJP was none other than Amaresh Misra the distinguished historian, internationally acclaimed for portraying a fearless and challenging account of the 1857 Revolt in his book War of Civilizations. Also a Congress MP who wrote the script for the multi-starrer film Bullet Raja, Misra was deeply hurt by the way the establishment treated such great sages and shared with us his unwavering commitment to their noble cause the fire of which he would like to ignite in each and every Indian through the Ganga Alliance.
Another crusader joining the Ganga Alliance is the much revered ecologist Shri Arun Kumar Panibaba. While talking to us Panibaba shed light on the next phase the Ganga Mukti Movement has entered after the sacrifice of Gangaputra Nigmanand and Nagnath. According to him the movement has now reached a point where two different Satyagrahi groups emerge clearly. At one side there are players like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev while at the other there are Gangaputras and Tapasvis like Swami Nigmanand and Baba Nagnath. Spread apart between two diametrically opposite poles the balance of these movements lay in the hands of the political economy.
Finally the frontline spokesperson of the Ganga Alliance and the author of The Holy Ganga Kaushal Kishore shared with us his personal experience with Baba Nagnath at a small and old math attached to the cremation ground at Manikarnika Ghat where he was fasting. As soon as I entered his hut I was presented with heart rending scenes. A medical expert was injecting his lifeless body. After some questioning I learned that since the establishment made him a subject of experiment of medical science his body started to turn lifeless. I looked carefully at his hands that were like lifeless rocks impossible to even bend. Trilochan Shastri and Kapindra Tiwari were at his service. After sometime he turned towards me and said, “Who said Nigmanand is dead ?”. I was stunned after hearing this. He said in a strong voice “I am Nigmanand”. I could never forget that day. The words from Baba Nagnath’s lifeless body were not the least lifeless. The spirit of Gangaputra lives on. (Courtesy: http://greatgameindia.com/)