Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extolled the virtues of river conservation and greeted the nation on World Rivers Day today. Addressing the nation in his Mann Ki Baat programme on All India Radio, the Prime Minister said World Rivers Day is in sync with traditions that the people of the nation have been following for centuries. He highlighted that rivers do not drink their own water but give away selflessly to others. He drove home the point that rivers are not just mere physical entities but akin to a life giving Mother.
In the very banks of these rivers, numerous festivals, occasions and functions are held by people. With the advent of the month of Magh, people perform Kalpvaas on the banks of river Ganga or other rivers for an entire month. Mr Modi said people used to remember the different names of rivers while taking bath in earlier times. He said it was a way to instill values among people.
The Prime Minister said it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that rivers do not get polluted. He said scriptures distinctly disapprove of polluting rivers, a fact which is reflected in Indian traditions as well. The western region of India, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan, suffer from scarcity of water and face famines often. Mr Modi said this has led to new traditions. He gave the example of Gujarat where Jal-Jeelani Ekadashi is celebrated during the rains. He said Jal Jeelani is similar to ‘Catch the Rain’ as each and every drop of rain is collected. Mr Modi added that Chhatth festival is celebrated in Bihar and other regions of the East on similar lines. He hoped that keeping Chatth Pooja in mind, preparations for cleaning and repairing riverbanks and ghats would have commenced.
The Prime Minister stressed that the endeavour of cleaning rivers can be undertaken with collective effort and support. He said public awareness and mass movement have a major role to play in keeping rivers clean.
The Prime Minister drew people’s attention to the special E-auction being held of gifts presented to him by people. The money that accrues through this E-auction is dedicated solely to the Namami Gange Campaign. Mr Modi mentioned how the Naagnadi river that flows through Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts of Tamilnadu had dried up. The womenfolk of the region took up cudgels to rejuvenate the river. Canals were dug up through public participation, and check dams and recharge-wells were built. The Prime Minister happily noted that today, the river is brimming with water.
Mr Modi also gave the example of Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat which had dried up in the last few decades. He said that the river has now been rejuvenated following the linking of river Narmada and river Sabarmati. The Prime Minister praised all the people who have dedicated themselves to rejuvenation of rivers. He also said that River Festivals must be held at least once a year on the banks of the rivers.