Don’t make Suryaputri the junkyard of faith

Pallavi Sareen

Suryaputri Tawi is now nothing more than collateral damage. Religion teaches you to worship the “daughter of the sun” but the flowers used in religious rites along with the plastic material, burnt lights for worship and spiritual lamps end up in the river. They may help in the spiritual calm of the ones performing the ritual but the dirtied river prays for the salvation of those who never came to its shore and thus, never treated it as a junkyard for faith.

The bigger environmentalist isn’t the one who conducted #Savethetawi campaign with people standing with hoardings and writings on paper (or as I like to call them the flat corpses of trees); it is the man who jumped into the Tawi to take out the one plastic bottle thrown by an anonymous person from the bridge above, just a minute ago.

Man and the plastic bottle

The temple on the shore of Suryaputri is more damaging to the purity of the river than the heavy machines set up for purifying the same water for our consumption. Whoever said technology was only meant to harm was perhaps a religious person who closed his eyes to the other side of everything. I have seen people get drowned by the same Tawi that they now build houses inside. A house not at the shore of the river, but inside its path. The dried area may look like it would be out of range when a massive wave hits but that doesn’t negate the fact that the broken bangles and twisted utensils one made his house over was once the possession of similar people. The floods in Jammu and Kashmir woke people to the possibility of a river rebelling against their deeds. But instead of vowing to keep it clean and under control, they started praying to it.

Prayers won’t shut down the 34 industries operating without Water Treatment plants. Prayers won’t belie the National Green Tribunal’s warning. Prayers won’t save the object of your worship. Only action will. Action in the positive direction, active participation in not looking the other way while the river gets dirtier by the day. Acting out when you see someone throwing off a bag of garbage from the bridge. It is not just about one river, one man, one action, one region, one faith. But it has to begin somewhere. Start with yourself. And if praying is all you feel capable of doing, pray for the development of collective conscience of humanity sensitizing them to the plight of their environment.