Painters find canvas on Varanasi ghat, clean the mess overnight

swati

Swati Chandra | March 3, 2015 | Varanasi


#varanasi   #varanasi ghats   #varanasi ganga   #river ganga   #ganga action plan  

# The place where former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi launched the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) at Rajendra Prasad ghat in Varanasi in 1986 had turned into a pungent smelling embankment by river side in Varanasi, frequently used for urination, open defecation and throwing garbage. Irony !

# The shelter below this embankment had become home for thugs and drug addicts who would sit under the shelter of the embankment and stare at the activities on the ghats – The stare that scares women, tourists and even locals.

 # The slippery area by the river side had become the dumping ground for the solid waste that accumulate on the ghat. It was just impossible to pass through this area, which is adjacent to Dashaswamedh ghat (most thronged for bathing and religious activities).

In December 2014, it looked like this



In February 2015, I visited my home town again. Some of my friends who joined me were keen on exploring the ghats and the serpentine lanes leading from the Ganga to the city. I was keen too but only until I reached this place. As I was apprehensive and feeling sad for what they might think looking at condition of this place. We were about to take a boat and to my surprise, this place looked totally different.



When enquired the locals and the boatmen who dwell on the ghats throughout the day, we realised what the prime minister could not do in all these months, a little endeavour by few art lovers in the town changed the fate of this place.

Students of fine arts, painters and artists from Varanasi cleaned this place and transformed it into a green belt by the river side. They have cleaned the stairs, converted the junk, which was wasting away on the neglected stairs, into dust bins, boat replica and garden pots and planters. Plastic bottles, poly bags, floral wastes were not found floating on the surface water this time. “Open defecation and urination in this area has also been banned not by force, but merely by creating awareness and shaming the wrongdoer with the tool called ‘art’,” shared Amit, a graduate in fine arts, who is also the part of this unpopular group.

A number of ghats in Varanasi (having historical and archaeological importance) are dying because of public apathy. Efforts are being taken to clean up the mess and restore the pristine glory of the river fronts but only for photo opportunities and other reasons.

As a native of this town, I have seen social activist, NGOs, school kids and even politicians forming human chains, shouting slogans, participating in signature campaigns and lighting candles to clean up the ‘mess’ called Ganga, the river that is nurturing some 450 million people.

Such activism never raised any hope, even when prime minister Modi picked up spade and cleaned Assi ghat in November 2014.

But the effort by these art lovers is surely the light at the end of the tunnel.

 
 

Comments

 

Other News

Sowing wheat earlier can help increase yields in India: US researcher

Yield gaps in wheat production in India can be countered with an earlier sowing date, says a University of Michigan researcher.   Using a new way to measure wheat yields, Meha Jain, assistant professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, found that the wheat yie

Giving birth as a Baiga

Kharpariya village, about 50 km from the headquarters town of Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district, is like many villages in the region, home to the Baiga, deemed a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) for whom permanent contraception methods are banned to prevent extinction. However, care for p

Being the prime minister’s brother

Somabhai Modi says he remembers only one occasion when he offered his younger brother prime minister Narendra Modi advice regarding work. This, he says, was when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. After one of his weekly grievance redressal sessions, the then chief minister had enquired after the well-b

Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?

Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?

INS Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy

 INS Kiltan, the third anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under project 28 (Kamorta class), was commissioned into the Indian Navy by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam.    The anti-submarine warfare stealth corvet

SAIL`s special grade steel used to build stealth corvette

Maharatna enterprise, Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) has supplied defence grade micro-alloyed grade of steel (DMR 249A) steel plates for the indigenously built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette INS-Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy.    SAIL’s integ



Video

Grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhaya on eve of diwali

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter