Inauguration of the 4th Annual River Festival in Madhya Pradesh
Pujya Swamiji inaugurated the 4th Annual River Festival (Nadi Mahostav), from 13-15th February, 2015, with Hon’ble Shri Shivraj Chouhanji, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, at Bandrabhan (near Bhopal), Madhya Pradesh (MP). The event was organized by Narmada Samagra and some of the eminent speakers included Justice Shri Devdutt Madhav Dharmadhikari, Former Judge, Supreme Court, Shri Sitasharan Sharma, Speaker, Legislative Assembly, M.P., Shri Amritlal Vegad, President, Narmada Samagra and many others.
The theme of festival was “River, its Catchment Area, Chemicals & Crisis,” assessing and discussing the challenges that the sacred rivers of India face by pollution and obstruction. It was attended by over a thousand individuals who represented nearly 310 rivers of India.
During His inspirational opening remarks Pujya Swamiji set the tone of the event by saying, “Today our rivers, whether our National River Ganga, originating from our Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, or your sacred river Narmada, in MP, the crisis of agricultural, industrial and domestic waste plagues all our sacred rivers. What once used to be revered, holy, life-giving rivers have now become merely a symbol of our negligence and ignorance. Thus, we can not blame anyone else for this crisis and yet, only we have the power to work together to find a solution for it. Therefore, it is heartening to see such a large gathering of experts, scientists and activists from all over India who are here to exchange ideas and find solutions to save our vital lifelines and sources of inspiration. I strongly believe that more than dialogue, though, the time has come to take action and to recognize, legislate, implement and enforce River’s Rights just as we do Human Rights. In Indian spiritual-cultural tradition we have always referred to our sacred rivers as “Mother;” now it’s time that we respect and uphold our Mother’s rights just as much as we would our own rights.”
During His brief visit Pujya Swamiji presented and discussed with the Hon’ble Chief Minister of MP a detailed proposal for the upcoming Green Ujjain Kumbh Mela 2016. The proposal highlighted some key areas of focus which would not only facilitate a memorable Kumbh but leave a lasting clean and green message for all pilgrims and visitors.
Hon’ble Shri Shivraj Chouhanji was deeply touched by Pujya Swamiji’s speech and vision. He agreed that he would take Pujya Swamiji’s suggestions and definitely apply them. He lauded the efforts of Pujya Swamiji, as the President of Parmarth Niketan, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar and Co-Founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, to protect and preserve our sacred water bodies not only within India but around the world.