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In silence I imbibe, in silence I will die: Ganga
Ganga is considered a goddess in India. But she is being mistreated by the people of Kolkata. People don't hesitate to throw garbage in the river and the factories around have also polluted the river. This is her plea to the people of Kolkata.
GANGA, A beloved of her people, intertwined around whom are her memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age long culture and civilisation, ever changing, ever flowing and yet ever the same, Ganga. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in these words described Ganga as the purest river, which is equal to god in Indian religion. For years, Ganga (referred to as the River Hooghly in Kolkata) has been silently flowing, but now she speaks out her emotions for Kolkata and its people.

I am flowing for decades, tirelessly meandering through the rocky terrain and the unctuous valley before entering into the splendorous West Bengal. I am the nerve centre of this state, the epitome of faith and civilisation here. I reside in the culture and religion of this famous domain, Kolkata. I am Ganga.

Over the years I have engulfed within myself the torments, the miseries, the happiness, the experiences and the countless memories of the people. I have never disclosed to any one what I feel after years of involvement with this city.

Thousands of commuters travel every day in boats posing their unmitigated faith on me. They share their slice of experiences, memoirs, illimitable discussion, which I hear with apt attention. I have nobody to talk to. I can only give an ear to their grievances and take part silently in their contentment. I overhear the agony and pang of the poor fishermen who toil for days in order to provide a square meal to their families. I swallow the trauma of the disconsolate mother in the drab hours, who has lost her only son when he tried to cross me.

So many places of worship are situated near me. People bathe in me to become free from their sins. I participate in the enjoyment of the families who have achieved something great in their status and have come to pay their homage to me. I bless them in eloquent silence. I eavesdrop and imbibe in jealousy observing the effulgent romance of the tender age and I behold the celestial love of couples when they sit on my bay. I devour in pain within me many lives who choose me as the medium of an end to life.

The Howrah Bridge passing over me also provides me the strength to sustain the hassles the city is facing now. I feel happy when I see the glittering light all along my shores, when the shadow of huge buildings fall on me and glimmer in the full moonlit night. I observe dolefully the precarious accidents that happen within me. I also see the heinous crimes, which take place on my embankments. I try to voice out in protest but my voice fails to reach them. Blood and tears of innocent girls mix in me when raucous men molest them. Tears flow through the moist eyes of the son who comes to immerse the ashes of his father. I witness all these but can’t vent out my feelings.

But time has changed. I love this city wholeheartedly but in return I am now treated as an outsider. I have become the kernel of garbage disposal. People don’t bother to hesitate when they throw pollutants in me. The factories have taken the liberty of removing their wastes through me. Day by day, I am becoming more polluted. Even human excreta is thrown into me. But still people feel pious when they touch me!! Have I descended from the Gangotri glacier to witness this milieu? I heard my father, the Himalayan glaciers that feed me, would disappear by 2030, after which my flow would be a seasonal occurrence resulting from monsoons. There is nobody to acknowledge my plea and understand my woeful plight. Can nobody comprehend the brewing danger on the city if I disappear, if I die?

Thousands of lives that are dependent on me will loose their livelihood. I have consumed all the circumstances without complain, then why am I not treated well now? Have the people of West Bengal forgotten my contribution to the state? I have vented out my feelings after years of mistreatment – can I now expect the denizens to come forward and help me in my existence, which is synonymous to Kolkata’s rich heritage and history?

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