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Article By: shubham pandey
Editorial and opinion


Submitted:Apr 24, 2010    Reads: 494    Comments: 8    Likes: 3   

India is blessed with many rivers and needless to say we- the Indians call all the rivers with same name ,i.e, MAA. Yes, each river is associated with maa. For example- saraswati maa, yamuna maa, and many more. There is one river which also comes in the same category and the name of that river is - GANGA or the English version- THE GANGES. The Ganges is one of the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent, flowing east through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km (1,560 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Uttarakhand state of India, and drains into the Sunderbans delta in the Bay of Bengal. It has long been considered a holy river by Hindus and worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Allahabad, Murshidabad, and Calcutta) have been located on its banks. The Ganges Basin drains 1,000,000-square-kilometre (390,000 sq mi) and supports one of the world's highest density of humans. The average depth of the river is 52 feet (16 m), and the maximum depth, 100 feet (30 m). The river has been declared as India's National River.[1] The many symbolic meanings of the river on the Indian subcontinent were spoken to in 1946 by Jawaharlal Nehru in his Discovery of India.
The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India's civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities.
But I am not writing this article to discuss about the length and breadth of the river or the history of this river. I want to write about some of the myths associated with this river which the people of india term them with name faith. Actually, there is a whole lot of difference between FAITH and MYTH. Faith is something that comes from you heart, it is something which you feel and myth is something that comes from others ideas. For example- touching the feet of your parents is a faith but touching the feet with motive that your life will get better because of touching the feet is myth. Touching the feet is a sign of love and respect and nothing else.
A few days back the kumbh mela came to an end in haridwar. Kumbh ka mela is celebrated every 12 years on the banks of ganga. In four different cities like haridwar, allahaba, ujjain. This year the mela was in haridwar. Crores of people from all the parts of country come to take a dip in the holy water. I also went there to take a dip, but I also discovered something very astonishing.
There were some 10000 people taking dip in the morning and all of them were chanting the name of the goddess. They were all there to pray and take a dip. After talking to some people I got an amazing fact, atleat 75% of people came to take a dip in ganga in order to erase their sins done by them. 5% of them came on a picnic- huh., 10% of them came because their old parents wanted to take a last dip in the holy water and only 10% were there who came to take a dip not because they wanted to erase the sin done by them in their past lives or this life but to give respect to the water which has been providing many people with its pure and clean water. It was a bit weird to think that if u take a dip in ganga then all your sins would be washed off. I don't feel like this.
What will you call this- those 90% people who came to take a dip in the ganges came there with faith in their heart or myth there in mind. It is upto you to decide. After few days it was the last day of kumbh ka mela and it is said that If you take the dip on the last day then you become pure by heart and soul. The last morning of the kumbh ka mela is called SHAHI SNAN. On that day, 8 people died in stampede as about 1.5 crore prople were there @ the ghat. Those 8 people came there to become pure and lost their livess. Just tell me something that has ganga mata said in the history of books that she would love only those people who would take a dip on SHAHI SNAN DAY. You may be calling this faith but I call this myth.
Another very funny incident happened on the ghat. There was arti going on in the morning and lacs of people were there to attend the aarti. In those lakh there were 10 very special people. After the aarti, those 10 people started chantink or may be yelling-" gANGA MATA KI JAI HO< VAISHNO MATA KI JAI HO< GAYYA(COW) MATTA KI JAI HO". Chanting was all rite but just after that one of those 10 went to the ghat and spit in the water of the ganges . simultaneously, a cow came and snatched the belongings of that man who was shouting " gaiyya mata ki jai ho", in order to save the belongings of his, he started beating the cow and 10 more people joined him in this execrcise. They did this act after saying" gaiiya (cow) maata ki jai ho".
I thought in my mind that why this guy was chanting gaiyaa mata ki jai when he has no respect at all for the cow and why the other was saying ganga maata ki jai when he spit in the water. The answer is simple- we indians do bot show faith to our gods but it is an act of drama. This is what makes me feel bad about our country that we call ourselves the land of heritage and culture but in actual sense this is the only myth in our country.
Ganga is just not about taking a dip in it, but it is our heritage, our own belonging. The next time you go there then please don't lite a diya in the rivers as it pollutes it and please go with a faith in your heart so that the myth in your mind could be erased.
Thank you.


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