A 2,500km canoe journey down the Ganges, a first in a canoe and the longest canoe journey by an Indian ... ever.
A look at India's holiest, and one of the most polluted rivers in the world
People bathe in its waters, pay homage to their ancestors and to their Gods. On the journey home they carry back some water. When a loved one dies, Hindus bring the ashes of the deceased to the Ganges ... or cremate them on her banks. It provides water to about 40% of India's population across 5 states, serving an estimated population of 500 million people or more, which is larger than any other river in the world. The river flows through 29 cities with population over 100,000, 23 cities with population between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 48 other towns.
A large number of cities, tanneries, chemical plants, textile mills, distilleries, slaughterhouses and hospitals along the river contribute to the pollution by dumping untreated waste into it. Industrial effluents are about 12% of the total volume of effluent reaching the Ganges.
A study conducted by the National Cancer Registry Program under the Indian Council of Medical Research in 2012, suggested that "those living along its banks in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal are more prone to cancer than anywhere else in the country". Water in the Ganges has been correlated to contracting dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, as well as severe diarrhea which continues to be one of the leading causes of death of children in India.
The Ganges still has magical and mythical properties. But does that give us the right to keep abusing her, to continue to pollute her? What if she turns around one day and says, "That's enough, I've had it." It's time to go down the Ganges to save the river.
Watch a video to understand the scourge of plastic pollution.
We are raising awareness about pollution.
If we stop throwing garbage indiscriminately, we will soon become the cleanest country in the world. Let each of us take the first step to make India clean. And then let each of us encourage others to take this pledge. Will we see a cleaner India and a purer Ganges immediately at the end of this expedition? Probably not. But a start has to be made and the first step has to come from us. Cynicism is easy, action a bit more difficult.
Take the pledge and encourage others as well. We will do so through this journey.
We hope to set a few milestones too...
- First descent of the Ganges in a canoe
- Longest journey in a canoe
- Fastest journey between Haridwar and Sagar Island in a canoe
- Longest distance paddled in a canoe in 12 hours
- Maximum consecutive days canoed over 50km a day
Homage to a martyr and a friend
This expedition gives us the opportunity to pay homage to Sqn Leader Ajay Ahuja, VrC.He is not only a braveheart who laid down his life for the country, but we from St Paul's School Kota, Rajasthan are proud to have been his classmates. This expedition is way to remember the sacrifice of Ajay and other men in uniform who have made the supreme sacrifice.
On 27 May 1999, as part of the Kargil operations, a photo reconnaissance mission was launched. A member of the mission, Flt Lt Nachiketa ejected from his MiG-27L after an engine flame-out. Sqn Ldr Ahuja stayed over enemy positions to help rescue attempts knowing about the existence of enemy surface-to-air missiles in the area. However, his MiG-21MF fighter was hit by a shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger. Ahuja gave a radio call, "Hercules, something has hit my plane, possibility of missile hit cannot be ruled out, I am ejecting over...(location)." Indian Air Force authorities lost track of his aircraft and all communications shortly afterward. A post-mortem examination conducted at the Srinagar Base Hospital claimed that Ahuja had landed safely after ejecting from his plane, but had been killed later by Pakistani soldiers.
We, the St Paul's School Old Boys Kota 1980, are proud of you Ajay. Rest in peace brother.
We solicit your support to become a part of this crowd funded expedition. You can support this expedition, starting from US$ 10.
Click on the PayPal button below to go to the payment page.
The effort is supported by
Our sincere thanks and acknowledgements to some people who have helped us put this expedition together:
Anjan Lahiri, Anubhav Mittal, Bhaskar DK, Julian Crandall Hollick, Kamal Gupta, Mohit Oberoi, Nitin Goel, Partha Roy, Pranay Kumar, Rana Rajesh, Sam, Sandeep Kohli, Sanjay Bali, Shilpika Gautam, Sidhartha Guha, Sumit Sabherwal, T Anil Kumar.
We hope more individuals step forward and support the journey and the cause behind it, before, during and after the expedition.