Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by aditya g, Jun 6, 2016.
State or Center didn't authenticate Saraswati project report: RTI
TNN | Jun 12, 2016, 01.03 AM IST
Chandigarh: On the contentious issue of existence of mythological Saraswati River, the Yamunanagar district officials have admitted that their project report for digging the river's track was not authenticated by the Haryana government or the Centre. The revelation was made before the state information commission recently after an RTI activist P P Kapoor approached the panel demanding details.
The only source for initiating digging work for revival of the river was a primary survey conducted by a district-level officer of panchayat department on the basis of revenue records. Kapoor, who has struggled a lot to access the information for one year, approached the commission to know whether the report of district-level officer or the project work was authenticated by state government, central government or any international agency.
Yamunanagar deputy commissioner S S Phulia and district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) Gagandeep Singh told the panel that "no report from the state government or any other higher level have been received by the administration in connection with the Saraswati project as related to Yamunanagar district."
The officials had also informed Kapoor that they don't have satellite images of ISRO, which had been mentioned earlier as a proof of palaeo-channels of the lost river. In reply to Kapoor's RTI query, A R Chaudhri of Kurukshetra University's geology department said that existence of the river was a matter of research and its completion would take its own course.
"Now, it has become clearer that the claims of locating disappeared Saraswati were made without any evidences," said Kapoor. The government has already approved Rs 50 crore for the Saraswati project.
Meanwhile, state information commissioner Samir Mathur, in a recent order, has stated that the administration has to explain the delay in providing information to the applicant. Earlier, the panel had issued two show cause notices to impose penalty of up to Rs 50,000 on a senior officer associated with the project. The panel has asked the officials to send the replies of notices by June 15.
Hunt to trace lost river
The BJP government in Haryana had started digging a 3km stretch near Mugalwali village in Yamunanagar district on April 21, 2015, as part of its great Saraswati hunt. The general theory given by supporters of the project is that the river used to flow above ground around 5,000 years ago but disappeared because of earthquakes. The Haryana government, however, still believes that it is possible to revive the channel. Kapoor said that senior ministers of Haryana government along with saints had also visited the sport in 2015, calling discovery of water at a few feet's depth a big achievement.
VIPIN PUBBY @vipinpubby
Come July 30 and a unique attempt will be made to artificially recharge the mythical Saraswati river which is believed to have originated from Adi Badri now in Haryana.
The attempts to revive the holy river, which has dried up and is believed to have gone underground, is being made under the aegis of the BJP government in Haryana.
The state government is set to pump water into the "lost river" through the Dadupur feeder from the Uncha Chandana village.
The government has already cleaned up and widened the nallah (channel) which passed through the districts of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Kaithal districts of Haryana before entering Rajasthan and then on to Gujarat.
The work to clean and widen the nallah has already been completed in two phases of 37km and 55km to re-establish links with patches which had dried up over the centuries.
The total length of the river in Haryana is 153km and the work to widen the channel has been undertaken by the Saraswati Heritage Development Board (SHDB) formed by the Haryana Government.
With water from the monsoon rains already flowing in some parts of the nallah, the boost from the Dadupur channel is aimed at providing a continuous flow. The ultimate aim is to construct a dam at Adi Badri to regular water into the river.
Union minister of state for culture and tourism, Mahesh Sharma, took a meeting on Monday, July 25, to monitor the progress of the project.
It was decided to appoint a world class consultant for the project to boost heritage and cultural tourism. It was also decided to appoint a nodal agency for geological studies to trace the route of the mythical river. It was also decided to start an inter-state dialogue for coordination on the project.
Deputy chairman of SHDB, Prashant Bhardwaj, said the amount of water to be pumped in through the Dadupur feeder is yet to be decided. Since it would be a test run on July 30, the final decision would be taken later on the quantity of water required to revive the river.
The move to revive the mythical river, which finds mention in the Vedas as well as the Bhagavad Gita, was initially taken up during the tenure of the first NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002.
The then Union tourism and culture minister, Jagmohan, had ordered studies on the underground river.
He had constituted a committee of four experts including a scientist from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ahmedabad, an eminent archeologist and a glaciologist.
The committee was asked to explore excavation from Adi Badri to Bhagwanpura in Haryana and in the second phase from Bhagwanpura to Kalibangar on the Rajasthan border.
The committee was also asked to explore the deepening of two wells, which according to mythology, were associated with the Pandavas.
Incidentally, the Rajasthan Groundwater Department too had undertaken a similar project in the mid-1990s to link a network of water channels in Rajashthan.
Jagmohan had also referred to satellite imagery of an underground channel. The imagery had shown patches of water bodies along the mythological route of Saraswati.
A remote sensing study conducted by the Geological Survey of India had also found existence of palaeo channels on the west of the Aravalli range and it was believed that these could be part of a river system ending in the Rann of Kutch.
The project was dropped after the Manmohan Singh government took over at the Centre and was revived only by the BJP government in Haryana led by Manohar Lal Khattar.
The chief minister had earmarked Rs 50 crore to trace and revive the river.
The state government, while deciding to set up the SHDB, declared, "The board will conduct meticulous field work to unearth and understand the past and the present content of the Saraswati heritage in Haryana for exposition of cultural patterns and values. It will help to preserve and promote the various archaeo-cultural facets of the Saraswati Heritage Area."
The Khattar government cried eureka when water was found after digging along the perceived route of the Saraswati last year.
Water was found at a depth of seven to eight feet in pits dug in a row over the supposed bed of the Saraswati.
This fact together with the discovery of ancient artefacts as well as evidence of ancient marine life was touted as re-confirming of the fact that a river flowed along the route and that an ancient civilisation existed along its banks.
Ever since the discovery of water, people from nearby areas have been flocking to the site and a few small temples have already sprung up along the route.
All eyes would now be on the experiment to discharge water on the route of the mythical Saraswati later this week
I saw a report on Jaisalmer where suddenly sweet river water started to come without motor from a bore well and is continuously flowing from 3 years http://m.timesofindia.com/city/jaip...ow-spot-in-Jaisalmer/articleshow/51848397.cms
Some scientists are saying that it's river water, and perhaps Saraswati river.
Similar incident with BSF :-
Seems like Saraswati river is reappearing itself.
Truly hope so!
Communist historians and proponents of the aryan invasion theory deliberately prevented research and hunt of Saraswati river. Result is that today's generation thinks of this as some myth in a holy book.
Over the few decades if even if small efforts like rain water harvesting, check dams were undertaken the river could at least have been a seasonal one today.
I have lived in Panchkula, where there are canals which run with river force during monsoons. Why did we ever not harness that water?
Kudos to Khattar led Haryana govt for these initiatives. Constitution of a board to manage these efforts, using MANREGA man days etc is all sensible stuff.
An older, detailed report from Tribune last year:
Rigveda, the oldest of the four ancient Hindu texts, mentions the “mighty” Saraswati 45 times. When NDA’s former Culture minister Jagmohan ordered excavation in Haryana to trace the course of this mythical “lost river” in 2002, he faced criticism of pushing the Sangh Parivar’s agenda of equating the supposed pre-Vedic Harappan era with Hindus in the garb of promoting religious tourism. A related charge was of trying to establish the indigenousness of Hinduism while discounting the Aryan invasion theory, and making it appear as a continuing 5,000-year-old civilisation centered around the Saraswati.
Denying giving Saraswati a civilisational virtue or aiming to revive Brahmanism and the sanctity of Vedas, he said it was not important whether the river was found or not. “However,” he pointed out, “in the course of the research, a certain consciousness will find its way into the minds of the people... that it was not a mythological desert river.”
That consciousness seems to have seeped in. The Saraswati river as a reality has still not won the day, but it being a myth is losing ground as the earth is being dug up since April 21. At Rohlaheri village in Yamunanagar, fresh water has been found not far below at 7 feet, bringing a flood of outsiders and locals to the excavation site. Such is the rush that a community kitchen (bhandara) has been set up in the vicinity. Some are simply inquisitive, but there is a sprinkling of those who want to immerse themselves in the “holy goddess”. The Ramayana, Mahabharata, Brahmanas and Puranas all talk of Saraswati, some even calling it Brahma’s sacred daughter Ikshumati — the greatest of mothers, greatest of rivers and greatest of goddesses.
Locals say a number of seasonal rivulets in the area are dotted with small temples, alluding to the notion that the river has always existed — in their minds, at least. It was March this year that Haryana’s BJP government announced excavation of the Saraswati river from Adi Badri, the point from where it is said to have originated. The digging is to be spread over 43 villages of Yamunanagar district starting from Rohlaheri (Bilaspur tehsil) to Uncha Chandna (Mustafabad sub-tehsil), a distance of 50 km.
The government says the “revival of the ancient river” will take a couple of years, but to begin with, a 7-km water channel will be dug up. This, it claims, will act as a link for a dam and reservoir to be built subsequently over 1,000 acres. What will become of such plans is best left to the travails of time. Can an extinct river be revived by bringing underground water to the surface?
The work is being executed under the rural job guarantee scheme and around 400 families have been entrusted with the task. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has announced Rs 50 crore for the project, though the administration is yet to receive this money.
The Development and Panchayats Department says it has conducted the demarcation by using satellite imagery. Another claim is that advanced technology resulted in the discovery of water “from Saraswati” at Mughalwali village. Water gushing out is no myth, 2,500-3,000 people paying a visit daily and some taking the “holy water” too is a fact. But is this the fabled Saraswati, or just a seasonal channel?
Marwa Khurd village resident Sohan Lal, 70, can’t understand what the confusion is. “I have seen Saraswati flowing near Bilaspur (in the area of Kakroni village) for many years. The goddess has always existed,” he says, referring to one of the many seasonal rivulets. The myth is a reality in his case. No confusion. “Saraswati is our cultural heritage and we are working on the path shown by satellite images. Water being found from the site has proved its past. The excavation is going on and after completion of the work, there would be a flowing Saraswati,” says a confident Khattar.
Former Congress state secretary Satpal Kaushik exercises caution. “I am not questioning the existence of Saraswati in Yamunanagar. But, it is a fact that the water that came out in Mughalwali is not that of the Saraswati. It may be ground water,” he says, adding that the excavation will create a new problem for farmers as it will divide the land.
District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) Gagandeep Singh has a bigger picture in mind. He says the Saraswati revival project has multi-dimensional aspects such as water conservation, water harvesting, ground water recharging, flood protection, improvement in ecological balance, flourishing of flora and fauna and development of eco-tourism, recreation tourism and pilgrim tourism. Is this long list for real?
Going back and forth
Hindu mythology refers to Saraswati as the goddess of wisdom and knowledge, manifesting itself in the form of a river. “Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati” find a common mention in many theological and cultural contexts. The Rig Veda refers to Saraswati as the mighty river flowing from the high mountains to the sea. In fact, the Vedas lay more importance to Saraswati than Ganga.
French scholar Michel Danino in his book The Lost River: On the Trail of Sarasvati suggests that Saraswati was no mythological river. He says there is strong evidence to suggest that the Saraswati of yesterday could be the Ghaggar of today.
A major proponent of making the Indus civilisation and the Rigveda compatible has been BB Lal, former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He claims that the Rig Vedic Saraswati and the present-day Saraswati-Ghaggar combine, which flows through Haryana and Punjab and dries up near Sirsa, are the same. His theory thus refutes the Aryan invasion theory.
Indus and Saraswati, Danino writes in his book, were the lifeline of the Indus Valley and Harappan civilisation (between 3,500 and 1,900 BC). Ancient Sanskrit texts as well as maps plotted by the British some 200 years ago indicate that Saraswati was the Ghajjar-Hakra river (Ghaggar in India and Hakra in Pakistan) that passes through Haryana.
Archaeologist Marc Aurel Stein recorded in 1880s that the easternmost tributary of Ghaggar was still known as Sarsuti at that time, which he said was a corruption of the name over a period of time. Richard Dixon Oldham, an officer of the Geological Survey of India, suggested around the same time that geological changes and tectonic movement were responsible for the Saraswati changing course and finally drying up. He suggested that Sutlej and Yamuna were tributaries of Ghaggar-Hakra. Geological changes diverted Sutlej towards the Indus and Yamuna towards the Ganga. As a result, Saraswati did not have enough water to reach the Arabian Sea and it dried up in the Thar Desert that extends from Rajasthan into some portions of Haryana, Punjab and the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
What science offers, and the critique
Research conducted by various institutions, including the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO), has suggested the course of the Saraswati. Satellite images have unearthed the hidden course of what could be the Saraswati river below the sands of Thar Desert in Rajasthan. As per an ISRO report, the mapped course of the river is 4-10 km wide, passing through Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, confirming the findings of Oldham.
Geological studies carried out to ascertain the existence of a palaeo-channel — remnant of an inactive river or stream channel that has been either filled or buried by younger sediment — in the north-western alluvial plains by the Department of Geology, Kurukshetra University, highlight the presence of a river system in the area demarcated for excavation.
Prof Dr AR Chaudhri, chairman, KU’s Department of Geology, says studies have indicated that Saraswati boosted the development of Vedic civilisation. “The sedimentological characteristics of the alluvium in Kalayat and palaeo-riverbed near Kurukshetra point to the presence of a trans-Himalayan river system. The channel, which is being excavated in Bilaspur area of Yamunanagar district, is along the palaeo-path of the erstwhile river which has been identified as per the official revenue record of British era,” he says.
Saraswati, it is believed, got lost due to tectonic movement. “Satellite images obtained from ISRO prove palaeo-channels of the lost river still exist below the ground,” says Darshan Lal Jain, president, Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, who’s been advocating the revival of the Saraswati since 1999.
Those claiming that Saraswati is no more a myth cite research in the fields of archaeology, geology, hydrology, glaciology, remote sensing and ground water technology. Even revenue records with entries that mention the Saraswati are given as evidence.
In revenue records, Saraswati travels from Adi Badri of Yamunanagar district to Pehowa in Kurukshetra district. Along this site are several historical temples. One such place believed to be the dry basin of Saraswati is where Lord Krishna is said to have delivered preachings of the Gita. It is believed that the battle of Mahabharata was also fought on the dry bed of Saraswati river.
There is a folklore associated with this site. Wherever the river flows, there are shamshan ghats (cremation grounds) on the embankment. The locals do not go to Haridwar for immersion of ashes in the Ganga. They treat Saraswati as an equally holy river and immerse the ashes in the open fields, believing that the river flows there. “When we were young, the water (believed to be of Saraswati) flowed in our village. After the cremation, the villagers would immerse the ashes in the water of the river,” claims Ram Narain of Rohlaheri village.
However, there are historians who say the Saraswati might not have been a mighty perennial river. They say remote-sensing and satellite imagery of palaeo (past) channels begin in the north, move towards Rajasthan and then get lost. There is hardly any proof, they claim, of these images being that of the Saraswati. They also point out how remote-sensing does not reveal the antiquity of the images, is not capable of dating and is ineffective on moist soil.
Looking back, ahead
GN Srivastva, Superintending Archaeologist, Chandigarh circle, has collected samples of pebbles and earthen pottery from Mughalwali. “The earthenware is of the Rajputana period from the eighth to the 12th century. The Saraswati river passage found in Yamunanagar and Kurukshetra has links to Prachi-Saraswati of Pehowa (Kurukshetra),” he says. “The Prachi-Saraswati river is mentioned in the stone inscription of the time of King Bhoj of Pratihar dynasty, ruling in the 9th century AD.”
A report of the Central Ground Water Board for Yamunanagar prepared in 2007 says the three blocks of Bilaspur, Mustafabad and Radaur have moved in the category of dark zone due to over-exploitation of underground water and mismanagement of ground water. The report recommends construction of a reservoir in the Kandi belt to enhance ground water and underground water quality and quantity.
Several agencies are involved in the Saraswati project and the Haryana government has hired the Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited (WAPCOS) to prepare a detailed project report for revival of the river. Other agencies to be involved include the United Nations Development Programme, NABARD and Asian Development Bank.
Director (Exploration), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Dr NK Verma, has also helped in narrowing down the location for drilling of deep borewells for tapping of the Saraswati river palaeo-channels. The ONGC has committed to carry out drilling of deep borewells in the “Saraswati river course”.
Deputy Commissioner Dr SS Phulia says the “ONGC has identified three points in Yamunanagar district and one each in Kurukshetra, Kaithal and Fatehabad districts to install tubewells in the Saraswati river course”.
So, it is the fabled Saraswati? It is not a no. It’s not a convincing yes either.
COUNTING THE GAINS OF RIVER REVIVAL PROJECT
Yamunanagar Deputy Commissioner Dr SS Phulia claims the excavation will help in preventing flooding in the area. He says crores are spent on flood protection works on the Somb river every year.
The project, he says, will help in reclaiming thousands of acres of land that is rendered unusable during monsoons. The administration has associated the revival of Saraswati with construction of a dam, artificial reservoir and channelising untamed drains during monsoons, he adds.
The reservoir to harness rainwater is expected to be more than double the size of Sukhna Lake at Chandigarh.
A recreational water park, botanical garden and zoo will also be constructed. The Chief Minister has announced an express highway along the Saraswati Revival Project which will start from Kalka (Panchkula) and run up to Kalesar (Yamunanagar).
A temple of Goddess Saraswati is proposed on the embankment of the reservoir. A historical gurdwara (Rampur Kamboyan) already exists. But the work regarding the construction of the dam and the reservoir will start only after project reports. The project is expected to be executed in two years.
LOTS TO SAY ABOUT THE RIVER
Rigveda calls Saraswati the seventh river of the Sindhu-Saraswati river system, hence the name Saptsindhu for the region bound by rivers: Saraswati in east, Sindhu (Indus) in west.
Ancient texts say the Saraswati springs from Himalayan glaciers in Har-ki-dun in Uttarakhand and emerges at Adi Badri, 30 km north of Jagadhri (Haryana), through the foothills of Shivalik ranges. About 5,000 years ago, it traversed 1,600 km, through Himachal, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Around 3,500 years ago, tectonic changes caused river migration and its desiccation.
Modern quest for the Saraswati began in the 1970s when American satellite images showed traces of water channels in northern and western India that had disappeared long ago.
The finding of Saraswati river disproves the Aryan invasion theory, which states that Aryans who originally lived in central Asia migrated to India in around 1,500 BC attacking the local Dravidians and moving them south.
Saraswati Heritage Project was started in 2002 by NDA. It was dropped by the UPA after a parliamentary panel termed it an unscientific quest.
CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, former panel head, said the project’s justification was mythological, not archaeological.
Some believe monsoon-fed Ghaggar-Hakra river, which flows through northwest India before entering Pakistan, is a remnant of the Saraswati.
Posted at: Aug 11, 2016, 12:35 AM; last updated: Aug 11, 2016, 12:35 AM (IST)
Trial run on Saraswati river
Shiv Kumar Sharma
Tribune News Service
Yamunanagar, August 10
The trial run of releasing water into the Saraswati river has been successful in Yamunanagar district.
The trial was conducted in the 11-km area of Yamunanagar district from Uncha Chandna village to Jhivrehri village. The water has now entered the area of Kurukshetra district and is expected to reach Kurukshetra city soon.
Sources said the 25 cusecs water was released into the river from Uncha Chandna village at 3 pm on August 3. The water was later increased to 50 cusecs on August 6 and it would be further increased to 150 cusecs soon.
Prashant Bhardwaj, deputy chairman, Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board, said the trial run of had been going on since August 3.
The sources said in the first phase, the water of the river would be flown into the Ghaggar river in Kaithal district till the rest of the portion of the river was excavated in other districts.
They said the water was being supplied to the Saraswati river from the Dadupur head through the Shahbad-Nalvi feeder. The water of Som, Pathrala and Yamuna rivers (through Western Yamuna Canal) gets collected at the Dadupur head.
“The revival of the Saraswati will solve several purposes, including religious sentiments of the people, recharging of groundwater in an area facing the problem of low water table, interlinking of rivers, maximum use of rain and floodwater in dams and reservoirs,” said Bhardwaj.
The sources said the excavation work of the river had been started with the efforts of Darshan Lal Jain, president, Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, on April 21, 2015, and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is also taking keen interest in the work.
Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Updated: August 15, 2016 5:12 am
A villager shows the algae floating on Saraswati. Express Photo by Jaipal Singh
From Uncha Chandna, a village in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district, about three feet of water now flows through a channel that the Haryana government has deemed to be the route of the River Saraswasti.
Uncha Chandna is where earlier this month the Haryana Irrigation Department inaugurated its version of the Saraswati with a little bit of help — 100 cusecs to be exact — from the Dadupur-Nalvi feeder canal that brings water from the Yamuna to meet the irrigation demands of 225 villages in three districts of the state, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Ambala.
Like it or not, this 100 cusecs of Yamuna water — one cusec equals 28.317 litres of water — from the feeder canal is now the water of the Saraswati. And at the time of writing, some 10 days after the inauguration, these cusecs had flowed up to Kurukshetra, 40 km to the south, surmounting the caving in of the sides of the channel at various places from the shock of the surging water.
After crossing Kaithal district, and crisscrossing Punjab for about 4 km, the water will merge with Ghaggar — a total distance of 153 km — with help from a booster shot of another 100 cusecs in the coming days.
Some 55 km north of Uncha Chandna is Adi Badri, commonly believed as the starting point of the “lost” Saraswati, in a wooded part of Yamuna Nagar close to the Shivalik foothills. The Irrigation department has already cleared a route on 37 km of this distance so that the River Somb, a small tributary of the Yamuna which runs its course in Yamunanagar, and its little rivulets here and there, can all be linked and flow without interruption towards Uncha Chandna, so that they can join the man-made Saraswati. The work on the remaining 18 km is proving tough. For along the route from Adi Badri to Uncha Chandna, lie many villages, whose fields are in the way of Mission Saraswati.
The government says there are land revenue records to prove that the fields have come up on what used to be a river. Privately owned land will be acquired for the
The idea that there was a river called Saraswati comes from references to it in the Rig Veda. Academics, historians, archaeologists, geologists and other scientists, believers and non-believers remain bitterly divided about its
The Dadupur-Nalvi canal that feeds water to the river.
Liberal historians hold the view that the people of the Vedic age were migrants from what is now Central Asia. They view the Saraswati Mission as an attempt by Hindutva lobbies to draw a connection between the Vedic period and Harrapan culture to prove that the people of Vedic India were indigenous. Their Hindutva counterparts denounce them as pushing a “Marxist” view of history.
The BJP government in Haryana wasted little time in announcing its plan to find the Saraswati after coming to power. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had termed the project to unearth Saraswati as a “mission to keep alive the soul of a community”, making no effort to hide the saffron colour of the project.
A Saraswati Heritage Development Board was quickly set up, and work began. But the foundation for the revival of the river was actually laid by the previousCongress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda that completed the construction of the first phase of the Dadupur-Nalvi canal in 2009.
The BJP government’s efforts got a boost when water was found in the dry river bed of the river at Mugalwali in Yamunanagar district in May last year. People flocked to the site to offer prayers and take the “holy” water. The government got the digging done under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The work was initiated on April 21.
District Development and Panchayat Officer, Yamunanagar, Gagandeep says, “After passing through 41 villages from Kaithal district, the river course enters Rajasthan and from there to Gujarat. There is satellite imagery of ISRO and Survey of India maps to show that the river existed here. We also have revenue records that show a river. These records were matched with the depressions. Some pieces of pottery were also recovered from the site that shows that a civilization existed here, which means there must have been a river.”
Project Saraswati is a package of other measures, including flood protection, promotion of eco and pilgrimage tourism, water conservation and improving the ecological balance. The government had announced a budget of Rs 50 crore for various works to be undertaken.
Three dams are also planned to ensure the river flows perennially. One of the dams will be at Adi Badri, another at Lohgarh and the third at Haripur. Officials say that river Somb floods the fields during the monsoon. A reservoir will be constructed at Uncha Chandna to channelise this water. While the reservoir is likely to be constructed in a few months, the dams will take two to three years to complete.
In March this year, the Centre set up an expert committee to review the available information about the river from studies already conducted. In a meeting of a multidisciplinary committee held recently at Delhi, discussions were held on the possibility of hiring consultants to promote tourism around the river.
The findings following excavation at Rakhigarhi has led officials to make claims that the river flowed here as Harappan settlements are known to have come up along riverbanks.
A board at the entrance with a picture of goddess Saraswati welcomes visitors to Saraswati Nagar, a village that is 1 km ahead of Uncha Chandna, in the direction of Adi Badri. Till February this year, it was known as Mustafabad. But going by its present condition, Saraswati might not want to be associated with this place, and pilgrims and other tourists would be shocked if they came.
There is no shortage of sign boards directing visitors to a Saraswati temple and a dham in the village, nor of garbage strewn around the site with pigs and stray dogs foraging in it.
Anil Chauhan, an agriculturist who frequently visits the temple, says it has expanded over the years. He feels there needs to be more upkeep in case the government wants to promote tourism.
“Adi Badri gets a lot of visitors and has tourism potential. However, if the government wants to attract tourists here then care has to be taken for maintaining this place. It needs to be spruced up,” he said.
Another person, who has a shop in the area for the past three decades, says that with the change in name, the situation seems to have worsened.
“There is an absolute lack of maintenance here. How can the government hope to attract tourists? Even when I am selling packed items in my shop, the filth outside turns people away. I have seen the mounds of garbage increasing by the day. The government talks of Swachh Bharat campaign. It seems this village has been given a miss,” he said on condition of anonymity.
At a little distance from the Saraswati temple is a cremation ground. The route of the Saraswati river passes the rear side of the cremation ground. The ashes of the cremated bodies are dumped into whatever water there is now from the Somb. The water has a layer of algae floating on it, and the sides are lined with garbage.
Baldev Kumar, a tubewell operator, says the manner in which the river is being polluted it looks like “Narakwati”. He said, “The sewerage from several villages enters river. If this continues, then the purpose with which the government has undertaken the project will be defeated.”
Prashant Bhardwaj, deputy chairman, Saraswati Heritage Development Board, says the problem is being experienced at several villages but says it strengthens the evidence for a pre-existing river. “Cremation grounds were constructed on the banks of rivers. This is another piece of evidence that the Saraswati was present here. We are giving the option to villagers that alternative sites will be allotted for the crematoriums so that the river is saved from pollution,” he said.
He added attempts are also being made to create awareness among people to not pollute the water of the river.
He said this was not a problem only of Saraswati but of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers as well. People also need to make a contribution, he said.
This is not the first attempt to find the Saraswati. In 1985, Dr V S Wakankar, an archaeologist and Padma Shri awardee, claimed to have traced the basin of the Saraswati from Adi Badri to Kutch. A group of 30 experts, including the incumbent Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, travelled on the route from Haryana to Gujarat from November 19 to December 20. Khattar who was a pracharak then was part of the yatra for three days.
In 1997, a Saraswati Research Centre was established at Chennai. Two years later, Haryana got a Saraswati Shodh Sansthan, headed by Darshan Lal Jain, former RSS president of the state. Between 1999 and 2000, during the time of the first Vajpayee-led NDA government, even the Indian Space Research Organisation got into the act to trace the route through GIS mapping. In 2002, the Centre notified a project for conducting multi-disciplinary study of the river. NDA’s former Culture Minister Jagmohan ordered excavation in Haryana to trace the river, a move that was viewed by the Opposition as furthering the saffron agenda.
Jain, ever the active campaigner for the Saraswati, says satellite imagery has shown the presence of the river. “It is no longer a myth,” he said. “Over the years, people have encroached upon land from where the river flowed. This needs to be cleared. It would facilitate in flood control and facilitate utilization of water.”
But now both Congress and Indian National Lok Dal have termed it a BJP ploy to divert attention from its failures and broken promises.
Undeterred by the opposition, the Khattar government is now planning to set up fellowships for the study of Saraswati river. At present, as many as 64 different departments across the country are involved with the Saraswati river project.
Politics and religion aside, Harinder, a landowner in Uncha Chandna village, feels the revival of the river will bring some benefits for the farmers.
“It is during the monsoons that we are assured of a steady supply of water in this river, otherwise we are dependent on tubewells. This is impacting the water level. The revival of the river will give us more water for irrigation. While the river has a religious significance, it is vital for farming. We had heard that the CM will come when water will released. That did not happen,” he says.
While debate rages among academics and historians over whether the river ever existed, for the residents of the Uncha Chandna and other villages on its path, the Saraswati river has always been present.
Seasonal rivulets flow through many villages in this part of Haryana. They fill up during the monsoon and dry down in the other months. People in these villages know them as the Saraswati, and have always done so in their memory. They see these rivulets as having originally come from a bigger river that dried up with time.
Chaman Lal, the sarpanch of Mali Majra, another village ahead of Uncha Chandna, says since the time he was born, he has known there was once a bigger river that flowed past his village called the Saraswati. “Our elders told us about it. The government is trying to revive the river along its entire route. Over the years, farmers started cultivating crops right next to the route of the river. As the river bed dries up during summers, some parts got encroached as well. This obstructed the smooth flow of the river. Also, the landowners do not want the government to use machines to clear the path of the river as their fields will get damaged,” he said.
Chaman Lal adds that over time, sewerage water and garbage are entering the rivulets. He fears this will finally end up in the new Saraswati, when the rivulets all get linked up. “The government needs to ensure that untreated sewerage does not enter the river. There will be no point spending crores of rupees on the project if the pollution is not stopped,” he said
Looking at the area from Google Maps:
1. Adi Badri -> Uncha Chandna.
33.5 Km as crow flies and 55 Km, presumably by road. Adi Badri is the origin, wile Uncha Chandna is where water from Dadupur-Nalvi feeder canal is being pushed into the channel. I am considering this as the first segment where water has to flow naturally.
Looking at the area, there are several rivulets/nallahs/seasonal rivers already in the area. Am letting the distance line above remain to give you a frame of reference.
1.1 Area near, South East to Adi Badri:
1.2 Going south west ....
Beyond this visible river channels are not there ... from here on is where they have to acquire land to build the canal.
Did some more digging up in Google Earth.
The Ghaggar river, which is a prominent seasonal river in Haryana and Punjab, goes quite a long distance into the Thar desert! -
The Saraswati being revived by Haryana Govt will merge its water into this very river.
Thus, the tough work is more at the source, as downstream has a wide channel that stretches all the way to Pakistan. With careful water harvesting, damming and developing water bodies - the revival may not be that far from reality. Sure, the revived river may not even flow the whole year, but the possibilities are tantalizing.
The ghaggar river, is it the green line just above the distance marker ?
is it the same place mentioned in the RSTV' NATIONAL SECURITY programme on BSF?
To summarise, the present Haryana Govts efforts are in 2 segments:
A. Adi Badri to Uncha Chandna
B. Uncha Chandta to kaithal
From kaithal onwards it is ghaggar river:
C. Kaithal to sirsa (lake ottu)
D. Sirsa to thar desert
Correct. The faint green line is the river ... I have placed the distance marker to give a sense of the distance.
I will view the video later today and reply back.
This is a very interesting video - thanks for sharing. Decades of communalised and communist history and brainwashing have denied us from knowing facts on ground - why on earth is there are seemingly never ending belt of green in the middle of the Thar?
Looking for areas near Jaisalmer as suggested in the video, you can find a river of green in the middle of dunes:
The governments should take the following steps pronto:
1. Declare the following rivers and the river basin as the Saraswati river or Saraswati River System:
2. Declare the immediate banks as protected natural reserve to prevent further encroachment.
3. Undertake measures such as;
- Develop water reservoirs that capture rain along the route
- Plant trees to reduce evaporation loss
- Dredging to deepen the channel, can be done easily during dry months
- Rain water harvesting measures, and develop small water channels that capture water and bring to the river
4. Bring in small amount of water from Yamuna and Satluj rivers, especially during flooding season.
In 2010, Ghaggar flooded and cities like Ambala were deep in water. So there is potential we just have to help nature find its way.
did some digging based in your post.
The area of the pic you have posted is pretty close to Indira gandhi canal(i am assuming so), May be the greenery is because of that. The "duna di sabbi deserto thar" from your pic is approx 3 km from canal, right side of the red line. even the thin green line in your post seems to be along Indira Gandhi canal.
Thanks you could be right. So perhaps what we saw in BSF video above was only an interpretation?
Found the detailed plan for Saraswati revival from point of origin ... section-A from one of my previous post
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