Rivers are dying, they are becoming dumping ground of industrial waste,Yamuna river is called "Ganda Nala". Government is doing much, to save the endangered rivers but an awareness needs to be created at the ground level. Prof. Shrikala Warrier
is an anthropologist, with a Ph.D from
the University of London,in her new book "Kamandalu"
speak about the cultural and spiritual significance of these rivers. Excerpts of the interview taken by Ramya Mishra
RM: When rivers
are fast turning into sewage ground, what kind of message you want to give
through your book Kamandalu?
regard rivers as the physical manifestations of goddesses who confer blessings
and spiritual purification. This is why Gangajal for pious people symbolizes
the subtle essence of the Goddess Ganga that is impervious to dirt and
pollution. Sacred texts like the Dharmasastras had strict injunctions about
keeping rivers clean and undefiled in the same way that deities in temples are
honoured. Mythology and tradition not only endorse these beliefs but can also
inspire us to address contemporary ecological issues.
Kamandalu is an interesting
book title, please throw light on its meaning and what prompted you to take
seemed an appropriate title for the book since Ganga and Sarasvati are believed
to have originated form the kamandalu of Lord Brahma and Kaveri from the
kamandalu of Rishi Agastya. Even today sadhus believe that the water in their
kamandalus is infused with a divine presence and represents all the sacred
Recently Modi government, has
declared a huge budget on clearing Ganga. Do you think it will create the
needed impact? And according to you, at ground level what are the steps, needed
to clear the rivers?
Government's initiative to clean up the Ganges is very good news. However as I
not an ecologist or environmental engineer I am unable to say what should be
done- my interest in the rivers is purely cultural and spiritual.
Please tell us something
about your book and also, what motivated you to write this book?
Prof: I have
always had an interest in Hindu culture and from what I have read on the
subject rivers appear to run like a thread through so much of the mythology and
history of India. I have tried to collate all the stories about the seven
rivers and the gods, sages, epic heroes as well as the places connected with
them to the best of my ability.
All the major civilizations
flourished near river, be it Indus Valley, Egypt or any other civilization.
Unfortunately the rivers are drying up fast , what is your philosophical take
rightly point out that river valleys were the cradle of civilisations- Indus
Valley, Mesopotamian, Chinese,etc. There is world-wide concern about the impact
of global warming on rivers and oceans. Green movements are beginning to appeal
to a wider constituency and this could have a significant influence in the