NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ganga Sagar Sinking Into the Sea , INDIA

March 05, 2010
SAGAR ISLAND, BENGAL, INDIA, February 19, 2010: The Ganga Sagar Mela, the two-day religious fair which falls in mid-January every year, attracts hundreds of thousands. A vast beach stretching across the silver, sandy southeastern tip of the Sagar island is taken over by a sea of humanity–not just pilgrims and sadhus from across the country but also a jostling crowd of national and international tourists, journalists, photographers, police and politicians. As you watch this sea of bodies, it really is very difficult to imagine it becoming a part of the vast open sea stretching out beyond.

“God will never allow this island to go down under water,” thunders Sadhu Baba, standing waist-deep in water in his loincloth, body covered in ash, hands stretching up towards the sky. “The day that happens, the world will be destroyed,” he proclaims apocalyptically. If you are standing near him on Sagar Island, looking at the scene unfolding all around, you just might want to believe him.

But Sushil Bhunyan, who lives in a village called Rashpur on Sagar Island took us on a tour of the devastation wreaked by the ocean. With tears in his eyes, he points towards a place in the open sea, and says, “My original hut used to be there.” A wide stretch of ground along the sea is dotted with remnants of an entire forest of trees, uprooted by the encroaching waves.

Professor Sugata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, who’s been studying the phenomenon of sinking islands in the deltas off the Bay of Bengal, confirms that Sagar Island is eroding at an alarming rate: “Sagar Island is in danger. Many of its embankments are already under water. It’s going down so fast that by 2020 to 2030, it will render hundreds and thousands of its people homeless.” The Kapil Muni temple has had to be moved inland three times in the last three decades (the first time was in 1977) because of the encroaching sea. Says temple priest Mahabir Das, who comes from Ayodhya to perform puja during the Mela, “Scientists will have their explanations.”

Back in the villages, nightly meetings are on to discuss sea levels and the surges in sea water. Most villagers cannot understand why the sea has got “even more angry”, as they put it, in the last two years. In the entire village, only one man, a schoolteacher named Ajit Kumar Das, has heard about global warming. “Bishha ushhnota? (Global warming?)” he asks rhetorically, when you ask him about the rising sea. “They held a conference in Europe. Am I right? Did they come up with a solution? Do they know what the problem is? Tell them to come see the Ganga Sagar Mela next time.”

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