In one of the most epochal moments in the sub-continent’s history, a conference of Indian rivers taking place in the island resort of Seychelles passed a resolution sponsored by the Beas, Krishna, Mahanadi and Narmada to get rid of all garbage, industrial waste, and sewage accumulated in their wombs over the centuries once and for all by taking a dip in the holy Ganga during the ongoing Kumbh Mela. Sindhu is also attending as an observer but has no voting rights as she is seen as belonging to the enemy’s camp, while the Brahmaputra may be expelled as he may soon acquire Chinese nationality.
The idea to purge themselves by tapping into the Ganga’s miraculous powers of purification had been floated by Mithi river of Mumbai and supported by Mula Mutha river of Pune, but was initially ignored by the rest because of the proposers’ lowly status as city drains. “These girls occupy a lower social status and their views are not taken seriously by the big 7,” said the Indian Ocean, Chairman of the conference. But the proposal gathered momentum, after Godavari, amused by the suggestion, brought it to the notice of the biggies.
“I thought the only option was for the government to impose Section 144 in our basins to save us from pollution but this idea sounds good too,” said Sutlej, vociferously backing the resolution. The Saraswati, present as the representative of the mythical group, said, “True that. I am no longer present in the universe, but just because of merger with Ganga, people still remember me. Ganga has got huge powers. Our pollution is just a small thing.”
“So, pakka pakka pakka!!! Like millions of believers who take a dip in Ganga, we too will come to take a dip in your sacred water and wash away all our sins, I mean our garbage and chemicals into your water,” chimed in a smiling Mahanadi. Cauvery lent qualified support, saying “Could work but pollution is not that much of an issue for me, frankly. Most of my water gets used up by the time I reach the Tamil Nadu border.”
Ganga maiyya, which was silent for most of the time, took offense at the suggestion. “Wah!! Mai sabko saaf karu, to fir mujhe kon saaf karega?” Ganga argued. “Don’t you already know that from Gangotri to Howrah, I carry the burden of millions of sins everyday, along with thousands of tones of wastes, garlands, plastics, chemicals and what not? By the way, I do not enjoy the 2.9 billion litres of sewage dumped in me every day, and I have not even mentioned the extra load on account of the Kumbh. Do you know how embarrassing it was for me when the super clean Thames of London and Li river of China walked on the ramp in the International Rivers fashion Show held at Mariana Trench Last year? And there I was, muddy, with dirt all over me?” she howled, indignation written all over her pretty but sullied face. “Thanks but no thanks. The last thing I need for other polluted rivers to wash into me as well,” she trailed off.
Ganga’s heartfelt pleas fell on deaf ears, before sister Yamuna vetoed the decision, saying “I already meet Ganga in Allahabad, but I can assure you that I feel no cleaner. So, by what logic do you think you will be purified ? In fact, I am worried, you may get even more polluted, as our sister Ganga is one of the top 5 most polluted rivers in the world, and I am told this is contagious.” The veto was seconded by the Kosi, Gomti, Gandhak and Hughli rivers.
Ganga later said that she can live with the increasing pollution load but it’s the mounting hypocrisy of many humans that she can’t handle. “Take the case of this politician who recently came to the Kumbh,” she recalled. “What really infuriated me was this dude, as board member of the Ganga Action Plan, has siphoned off crores of rupees earmarked for my cleansing, and now wanted to take a dip in my waters to wash off this sin.”