for ISKCON News on Aug. 23, 2012
"Save Yamuna" letter of request presented to Indian Ambassador Mrs. Sujatha Singh
ISKCON Germany joins the Call for Indian Government to "BRING BACK RIVER YAMUNA TO ITS PEOPLE; WILDLIFE AND ECOLOGY."
In the week prior and after the Janmasthami celebrations representatives from ISKCON, Environmental Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other Hindu organizations worldwide presented letters to Ambassadors at Indian Embassies in several capitals of the world including Washington D.C., London, and Brussels (European Union) in which they expressed their grave concern about the dramatic situation of the holy River Yamuna.
Due to the critical lack of adequate natural fresh water flow in the river bed and fatal increase of pollution coming in from Delhi and beyond the River Yamuna has already become one of the most endangered rivers on earth.
Thus also representatives of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Germany supported the action by handing a letter of request to the Indian Ambassador Mrs. Sujatha Singh at her mansion in Berlin on the occasion of the 66. year of Indian Independence. Their effort was joined and supported by the Association Kurukshetra Inbound School Of Yoga, Afghan Hindu Culture Society 1993 Cologne as well as the Vedic Cultural Association Stuttgart.
They were calling for the Indian Government to live up to India’s own Supreme Court High Powered Committee ruling of 1998 that said: 1) Sewage should be diverted away from the Yamuna River and be treated, 2) The states through which the river flows should maintain a constant and adequate flow of natural fresh flow in river Yamuna throughout, to protect and preserve the river’s ecology.
Mrs. Sujatha Singh gave the delegation her full time and read the letter of request at the spot. She said she had already heard about it and she wanted to go more deeply into this matter.
The shared letter to the Ambassador stated that:
“It is with a heavy heart that we bring your attention to the plight of the river Yamuna…a traditional water resource and pilgrimage destination for millions of people. Ancient scriptures, traditional and contemporary art, music, festivals, and even the Indian National Anthem demonstrate the tremendous esteem in which the river is held…The Yamuna, along with the Ganges, is a cultural icon and defining symbol of India. Yet, the United Nations website (UN-HABITAT) has declared that the Yamuna River downstream of New Delhi is now officially ‘dead’.”
Studies have shown that 97% of the water from the Yamuna has been diverted away from its natural riverbed before it reaches New Delhi, India’s capital city. A report compiled in 2006 by the Central Pollution Control Board of the Indian Government stated there is “almost no fresh water in the river” from Delhi on.
Despite a Supreme Court ruling, and public and private pronouncements of support from Government officials, little has been done to resolve this tremendous ecological scandal which goes side by side with an immense social-religious tragedy.
As part of the timeless Indian Civilization, the river Yamuna, other than being a traditional water resource, is also a cultural icon and is worshiped as a goddess in Indian Culture. Seeing the ecology of this holy river destroyed and its being used just a sewage line thus the spiritual emotions and faith of millions of people are being hoodwinked and their traditional way of living in accordance with God and its creation is ridiculed. Furthermore thousands of pilgrims from around the world that visit the Yamuna annually are deprived of their holy dip and sip in sacred fresh Yamuna water and face tremendous health risk up to even death if they continue to follow their spiritual traditions as the so called Yamuna water is nothing but toxic cocktail of dangerous waste water. Not a single drop of that most holy river on earth is found in the holy land of Braj-Vrindavan today.
The event to present letters to India’s Ambassadors worldwide coincided with a huge rally in Mathura, Lord Krishna’s birthplace, on the 8th of August, to demonstrate local support for cleaning up the Yamuna and protecting those who live beside her.
For more information please visit: www.saveyamuna.org