New Delhi: The preservation and promotion of “Ganga, Environment and Culture” is the foundation for development of our country, said the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the Jagran Forum on issues of Ganga, Environment and Culture in Varanasi today (March 15, 2021) organised by Dainik Jagran. He pointed out that organizing discussions on such issues are not only relevant but also help us ensure people’s participation and pave the way for the development of mankind.
The President said that the sanctity of the Ganga in our life is utmost. It teaches us that our minds, words and deeds should be pure like Ganga water (neer). In effect, the President said that the cleanliness of the Ganga denotes that we live with a pure heart, it’s eternity carries the message of continuity in life.
The President said that it would not be appropriate to consider Ganga just as a river. It is the lifeline of Indian culture and the carrier of spirituality and faith. There is a belief in our country that all the rivers of India have essence of the Ganga. Many devotees take Ganga-water from India and pour it into the rivers abroad, thereby connecting those rivers with their faith. He stated that Ganga connects Indians of every corner of the world with their motherland and with the culture and tradition of our country. Ganga is therefore the identity of the people of India.
The President said that protection and promotion of environment and culture in our country can happen only when the Ganga remains uninterrupted and clean. The area of the Ganga and its tributaries is spread over 11 states. According to an estimate, the region is inhabited by 43 percent of the country’s population. Therefore, water conservation in the Ganga River Basin and reducing flood and erosion in this area is of prime importance. With these objectives, the goals of the cleanliness of the Ganga and the protection of the environment are also associated.
The President stated that an integrated ‘Ganga Conservation Mission’ called ‘Namami Gange’ was launched in 2015 with aim to protect Ganga and environment. He was happy to note that good results of this mission are visible. He said that the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has taken the initiative to improve the cleanliness of the Ganga and the splendor of Kashi. He noted that the ghats of Banaras are now clean and tidy. The emphasis on cleanliness of Ganga, its ghats and the city of Benaras has not only given a boost to environmental protection but also has made the journey to Benaras more enjoyable for tourists.
The President said that keeping Ganga clean, preserving the environment and enriching our culture and heritage is not only the duty of governments but also the social and individual responsibility of all citizens. This thinking needs to be adopted and assimilated at a nationwide level. He was happy to note that in past few years awareness has increased among the people in this regard. Many organizations and people from different fields, especially media and the villagers along the banks of the Ganga, have made commendable contribution towards the cleanliness of the Ganga.
The President said that the effort of Dainik Jagran Group to discuss issues of social concern through this Forum and make the society aware of its responsibilities is highly appreciable. He was confident that the deliberations in the Forum would increase awareness and activism about the inter-relationship of Ganga, environment and culture. He expressed hope that this series of discussions would prove useful in making Ganga River cleaner, providing a better environment and hence making our culture rich.