The voice against the poor state of Yamuna is to become louder. The Tirtha Purohits of Vrindavan have come together pursue for the unpolluted, uninterrupted minimum flow of water in Yamuna.
The ‘Pandas’ gathered on the bank of Yamuna on the eve of Ganga Dussera to raise voice against the injustice done to Yamuna and its ghats in Vrindavan. More than thirty people representing various groups joined hands to fight against the growing pollution in Yamuna.
A meeting was held under the banner of ‘Yamuna Seva Samiti’ at Bhramar Ghat on the bank of River Yamuna in Vrindavan. The priests expressed their concern over the pitiable condition of Yamuna and its ghats. They agreed that the polluted Yamuna has affected their livelihood, as the pilgrims are no more interested in the ‘Yamuna Pujan’, which was a tradition for every pilgrim visiting Vrindavan.
The Pandas lamented, “The Glory and grandeur of the Yamuna that attracted the princely states to build the finest ghats along the banks of Yamuna will never return as the river has been reduced to pale, sickly drain and the ‘picturesque’ ghats were left to disappear”.
← Meeting at Bhramar Ghat for Yamuna
While the younger folk have generally stayed away from the stinking river which holds no charm for them, people of the older generation do occasionally venture out to conduct ritualistic pujas and baths. The dozen odd ghats along the riverfront, which once was the centre of a thriving religious activity and river culture, have disappeared without a trace, reducing the series of ghats a ring road. Some ghats fell prey to the man’s indifference; others were razed to the ground by zealous bureaucrats to make way for a “picturesque” riverfront like Mumbai’s Chowpatty.
Thousands of devout Vaishnavas from all over the world return disappointed and frustrated by seeing the miserable condition of the Yamuna river and its ghats in dilapidated condition. The stinking and rotting pollutants, flowing down from upstream fill the devotees with disgust when they go to take aachman or holy dip.
The ghats along the banks of the river are buried under the debris and a road was built on top of it, which blocks the river flowing on its traditional ghats. The debris and the road have pushed the flow of the river 30 meters away from the Cheer Ghat and Bhramar Ghat area.
Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami ji Maharaj addressing the gathering →
“Without water in the river, devotees who throng the river to take ritualistic dip feel hurt and cheated. Water should be released from the upstream barrages, and a minimum flow must be maintained,” said Shri Krishna Chandra Gautam.
Shri Shyam Sundar Gautam said, “Without a minimum flow, particularly during the lean months, it is not possible to revive the river or to restore its past glory.” “The water is not fit for a holy dip or aachman. Those who dare to enter the Yamuna complain of and itching and burning sensation,” said Shri Goutam.
“With better road connectivity, the number of pilgrim tourists has increased manyfold. On weekends, lakhs (hundreds of thousands) turns up for a darshan of Vrindavan temples. When these people go to the Yamuna, the reaction is sharp and negative. One hears only curses and abuses,” said Narayn Bohre, a youth priests.
According to Shri Raghav Bharadwaj, the convener of the meeting, the river has distanced itself from the ancient ghats of Vrindavan, due to the ill planned ‘Riverfront Development Project’.
“We have gathered here to raise our voice to revive Yamuna and restore its ancient ghats in Vrindavan. We will ask the government to restore ‘Bhramar Ghat’ as a model where Yamuna can flow again on its traditional place.” said Raghav Bharadwaj.