Destroying the Holy river Ganges by building a dam before we have understood the healing properties of the river

The Indian Government is planning to build a dam on the sacred river Ganges to help provide electricity to the people of India. The problem is that the river Ganges is considered Holy because it has been claimed to have miracle healing powers through the centuries. There is a gallon of water bottled by the University of Calcutta, West Bengal, India which several decades later has still no bacterial contamination. How is that?

The Fisherman on the River Ganga (Ganges) by Sumit Sen

The Fisherman on the River Ganga (Ganges) by Sumit Sen

A microbiological answer?
The interests of a record 120 million devotee bathers this year attending the Kumbh Mela this year could not be ignored by the Government of India. They requested that the tanneries and other small industries along the river defer the release of toxic pollutants, such as chromium, into the river during this festival. Prevention of toxic chemical release should be enforced all year round, and is excellent public policy. Perhaps, such a policy deserves more vigorous support than building a dam over a river providing millions with healing relief; something modern medicine cannot fathom, simply because modern medicine has yet to master the intricacies of the human brain and immune system. Read “India Stems Tide of Pollution Into Ganges River“, by National Geographic.

Why do people claim to feel healthier after bathing or tasting this water? Why do people say their sick babies are miraculously cured after being dipped in the “Holy river Ganga”? Why do environmental scientists show that this river decomposes organic matter 20-30 times faster than any other river? They do not have an answer and neither do any microbiologists to date.  None of us truly understand the power of nature.  True the holy river has been declared polluted beyond what is safe for human consumption and also unsafe to be used as irrigation water. Yet, millions of people continue to bathe and drink the Holy water straight from the river and live to talk about it. How does this Holy water continue to safely allow people to “taste” and bathe in it? What are it’s “magical” properties? Is there a microbiological answer or is it an answer that we are unequipped to answer with the current technology available but may have the tools to answer some day in the future?  Perhaps for the same reasons people claim it is healthier to swim in the ocean rather than the swimming pool because of the oceans “magical curing properties”.

Dam this Holy river
It appears we may not have much of an opportunity though. The Indian government has decided to dam this Holy river, despite widespread protests and polite requests to leave this Holy river alone.  Building dams to provide electricity is old technology.  Today, there are alternative energy options to be pursued for providing electricity such as solar panels and wind turbines.  Northern India has plenty of sunny, hot and windy days.  Alternative energy options must be actively explored for long-term solutions – finite resources being shared by exploding population growth.  People of India are patient and can tolerate great personal inconveniences to preserve their nature. The Holy Ganges is more precious to them than their electricity needs.

The Holy place where the Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years
When the nature of the miracle of the Holy river Ganges is not understood, how can it be lost to society by being damed? The Triveni Sangam are holy places in India where two actual rivers and a third “mythical” or “under-terrestrial” river meet.  Yes, there are a few such holy places where “three rivers” meet in India.  The river Ganges (Ganga) runs through the ancient city of Prayag, which is modern Allahabad, and meets the river Yamuna (Jamuna), and the river Ganga also meets the ocean, at the Bay of Bengal Delta.  The meeting of these two Yamuna and Ganga rivers is easily observed. The Yamuna is quite deep and of a different color while the Ganga is only a few feet deep. Yet, a third river, Saraswati, is said to be meeting these two rivers. The devotees cannot “see” this third river but “know” it exists. The Triveni Sangam in Prayag (Allahabad) is where the three rivers, Jamuna, Ganga and Saraswati meet; and every 12 years, this is the site of the Kumbh Mela; a month long holy festival attended by several million devotees.

To question this devotion is to try to understand if ancient Indians knew the geology and geography of rivers, their origins, and destinations, using a method modern scientists have not understood. After all, what is an undercurrent? Why is a tsunami so unexpected? Why do rivers originate? Do modern scientists know where all rivers originate? Why do all rivers meet other rivers? Do all rivers meet other rivers? Why do most rivers end in the ocean, or do they? Do all rivers run “above ground”? After all, we do understand the concept of “ground water” which we tap for building our wells. Where does this “ground water” originate, does it meet other rivers at “Triveni Sangams” in an “under-terrestrial method” and then end in the ocean or does ground water never meet other “above ground” rivers and oceans? Do all countries have “Triveni Sangams” or is India the only country with more than one Triveni Sangams? Perhaps, the gurus of ancient India had knowlege of water ways which other countries had not begun to explore.

It is certainly a matter of contemplation before contempt. Only the ignorant choose to belittle the depth of unwritten knowledge of ancient India, passed down through generations of “mythological” stories. India (Bharat) is over 10,000 years old and assuming ancestral humans were just curious as modern humans, geological explorations must have delivered cumulative results over the years and the concept of “Triveni Sangam” was chosen to be preserved. Why?

Why was Mahatma Gandhi cremated at this Triveni Sangam in 1948?  It is believed that Ram from the Indian mythology of “Ramayana” visited here during his fourteen year exile.  Ancient Indian mythology narrates that Lord Brahma performed “Prakista Yajna” here, and that is why Prayag (Allahabad) is called the Tirtha Raj,  or king of all holy places.

How can you help?

You can add your voice to those concerned about daming a Holy river by visiting the websites listed below and by calling the phone numbers listed below for MOWR (Ministry of Water Resources). We have not found email addresses.

You may click here to read an excellent article with several photos covering the importance, source, uses and controversies and history of the Holy river Ganges.  Are there any other wonders of nature that we will be losing by humankind’s lesser minds?
Is this not your world? Do we not have just one planet Earth? Your knowledge or wisdom may answer an unknown question – What lies behind the miracles and wonders of the river Ganges claimed for millennia by the Gurus of Ancient India.

You may visit the Ministry of Environment & Forests, India by clicking here.

You may visit the Ministry of Water Resorces, India by clicking here to read details of the water resources advice session attended in 2011 by leading executives from various industries in India. The ministry heads names, designations and phone numbers are listed below:

 Name  Designation  Phone


Shri Dhruv Vijai Singh

Secretary, MoWR



Shri G. Mohan Kumar

Additional Secretary, MoWR



Shri Sudhir Garg

Joint Secretary, MoWR


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One response to “Destroying the Holy river Ganges by building a dam before we have understood the healing properties of the river

  1. Pingback: Swimming in the Ocean may be healthier than your swimming pool | Pursue natural

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