Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Bed Of The Yamuna...


The great civilisations of the world, we all know, grew on the banks of the great rivers of the world. Many of the most important cities that human beings created were also located on the banks of these very rivers. There is nothing surprising about this, for rivers sustain. By their very nature, by the water that they bring and the fertility that they spread. Across civilisations therefore, rivers have always been respected and venerated - the mother, the giver of all sustenance and life.

Civilisations, it is said, can be judged by a number of ways. One is how you treat the most vulnerable and disprivileged in their societies. Another by the quantity and kind of garbage that is created and even another by how you treat your rivers.
And when you make your rivers the repositories of the garbage that you have created, it the worst of the two that are being married together.

The Yamuna, as it passes through the capital of the country is one good place to see what's happening. A day spent along, or even on the marshy bed of the river could be a lesson of a lifetime. There are myriad plants that still flourish in the stinky polluted waters; birds of all hues still flit amongst the big and small bushes; thousands of migratory waterfowl still make these waters their home every winter; the humans are there and so is their agriculture, their cattle, and yes, their waste.

All these leave behind their messages, their images and their signatures.

The bed of the river is heavily signed on by those who use the river and those who abuse the river.

In a sense, what we do a river we do to ourselves.

This is a set of images from bed of the River Yamuna in Delhi taken many winters ago…

The photofeature was first published in TERRAGREEN, Vol 3, Issue 4, Jan-Mar. 2007

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