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The Ganges and the Indus: the AB side of India

   Speaking of India recently, it’s hard not to think of the raging new crown epidemic, the variant Delta virus, and many news screens, regardless of the plague, still intensively bathing, praying, holding funerals, and drifting corpses in the "Mother River" Ganges. people.

  Many countries have their own representative rivers. They have bred ancient civilizations, flowed with the texture of the times, and are spiritual symbols of the nation and the country. But there is rarely a river like the Ganges, which carries so much hope and sorrow inside, and is covered with layers of misunderstanding and ridicule on the outside.

  In addition to the famous Ganges River, India also has an "Indus River" with the same name as the country. The central plain of India lies between the Indus and Ganges and forms the main part of the Indian granary-but most of the Indus does not belong to India. Over the years, this river has been under the jurisdiction of India and Pakistan, and contradictions have emerged one after another.

  One inside and one outside, one mystery and one dispute are the Indian reality represented by two important rivers: it is a torn hierarchical society in the country, and it is also an endless dispute that cannot be avoided in the world.


Garbage floating on the Ganges


Indians believe that the holy water of the Ganges can wash away stains and bad luck

The mother river that washes away sins


  Like many rivers in the world that are revered as the "Mother River", the Ganges has a long meandering length and abundant water volume, bringing the extremely important Ganges Plain to India. This plain with an area of ​​about 520,000 square kilometers is fertile and has a large population of people. It also hosts many major cities in India, such as Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, and Kanpur, an important industrial center in North India.

  In addition to nurturing and survival, the Ganges River is the holy river in the hearts of Indians, and the incarnation of the "God of God" Lord Shiva. According to legend, in order to redeem a king, Shiva spread her hair and let the river flow along her hair everywhere, becoming a trickle of the Ganges.

  Since the Ganges can wash away the sins of ancient Indian kings and redeem 60,000 innocent creatures, then what are the small stains and bad luck in one's life? This is why Indians now generally love to bathe and pray in the Ganges River.

  "Give me a handful of Ganges water, and Lord Shiva will watch me from the sky, so that I dare not lie or do bad things."

Tearing apart the miniature of society


  The Ganges in the past can indeed wash everything away. As early as when the British colonized India, the Ganges water was used as a supply of fresh water for the ocean-going fleet, and it did not deteriorate for a long time. Before the 1980s, in the rainy season, the Ganges water could even reach drinking water standards.

  The Ganges River's extraordinary self-purification ability is second to none in rivers worldwide-it seems to naturally contain more dissolved oxygen and beneficial microorganisms than other rivers. This kind of magical "non-corruption" is indeed worthy of worship.


  Before the 1980s, in the rainy season, the Ganges water could even reach drinking water standards.


  The Ganges water really began to get dirty after the 1990s. With the triumphant advancement of industrial civilization and the massive increase in population, Kanpur, a city along the Ganges, began to vigorously develop the original tanning industry-an industry with extremely high water consumption and high pollution. The family workshops scattered along the river discharge industrial sewage into the Ganges River uncontrollably. Even if the Ganges is really a river blessed by gods, it might not be able to withstand the overwhelming power of contemporary industry.

  Under industrialization, the ills of the Indians’ past lifestyles began to emerge: the dead bodies were thrown into the Ganges to float, breeding a lot of bacteria; the corpses of cows regarded as gods were thrown into the Ganges, and the bacteria of sick cows were found. Arrived at the hotbed; the traditional funeral custom requires burning and praying by the river, which produces a lot of waste and pollution...Finally, these bacteria in the Ganges will be brought back into the body by the Indians by "drinking holy water" and "bathing in the river". , Causing various water-borne and intestinal diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.

  As a result, the increasingly dirty Ganges River began to daunt the outside world. It is no longer the mother river of gentleness, but the hometown of hideous cholera.

  Now, the new crown epidemic has brought new disasters to the Ganges and to the poor Indians. The wealth that industrial civilization exchanges for the environment is not accessible to everyone, and those stinking corpses drifting in the river may mean the reality of the gap between the rich and the poor in India—as a believer, if you don’t have enough money to buy one The firewood that burned his own body could only float like this, bearing all kinds of infamy for "polluting the mother river".

  The unburned remains by the Ganges, the cremation pile without firewood, the floating corpses, and the no longer clear river water are sorrows that cannot be saved by ancient myths and devout beliefs.


Indus Valley

Split water source


  If you look at the "Indus River" that flows through the northern corner of India, you will find another kind of joys and sorrows about the river.

  The conflicts between India and Pakistan have been disputed for a long time. Among them, the Kashmir issue and the issue of the ownership of the Indus River can be regarded as the two most important contradictions.

  In 1947, India and Pakistan were divided, and the rich Punjab of northern India was also divided into two. "Punjab" means "land of five rivers". As the name suggests, 5 tributaries of the Indus River are gathered here. There is "Punjab Province" in Pakistan and "Punjab State" in India.


  Conflicts between India and Pakistan are frequent, but no one has really been involved in fighting because of water sources.


  This "divide and conquer" split the various species in India and Pakistan, as well as the planting and irrigation, land and water sources in this area. Pakistan has obtained most of the irrigated fields, but the rivers used to irrigate them-the five major rivers of the Indus. The upper reaches of the tributaries and their main streams are in Kashmir or India. In other words, if Pakistan wants to use the water from these rivers, it needs India’s consent.


  India, which believes that Pakistan as a whole country should "should not appear", will naturally not give up such a once-in-a-lifetime "handling" opportunity.

  April 1, 1948, was the expiry date of the "maintain the original water supply pattern before the partition" signed by the two countries. India, upstream, cut off the water. More than 1 million acres of land in Pakistan were irrigated without water and almost dried up, which was a devastating blow to the harvest that year. Since then, although India opened up the water source through negotiations, this kind of "cutting off supply" from time to time often occurred. Pakistan had to look at India's face and even had to pay water fees for this natural river.

  If Pakistan does not count on the Indus River, can it avoid constraints and endless quarrels?

  Pakistan without the Indus River is unimaginable. If you open the map and look at the geographic structure of Pakistan, you will find that almost all of its southeast areas are deserts, and 90% of Pakistan's annual water resources come from the Indus River Basin.

  The Indus is to Pakistan as the Nile is to Egypt. It is not only dignity, but also the lifeblood.

Unfinished dispute


  Pakistan's "life-saving water" is also a source that India desperately needs. India has a huge population and territories, and water sources are naturally the most important. By intercepting the Indus River and empowering the development of various states, India’s approach seems "virtuous", but it can be understood.

  In the face of the International Court of Justice, India and Pakistan stand on their own terms. In India’s view, rivers should be treated with "absolute territorial sovereignty": the upper reaches belong to India, and India can freely transfer water and intercept freely; in Pakistan’s view, since it is a flowing river, it should be a river. For consideration, wherever it flows, the right to use it will be shared.

  After all, it can't be pulled like this forever. In 1960, under the mediation of international organizations, the "Indus River Water Treaty" was signed, which divided the Indus River basin into two parts. It has full rights to use, and it obtains 166.5 billion cubic meters of surface runoff each year.” India has the “right to use about 40.7 billion cubic meters of water distributed by the three East Rivers (Ravi River, Bias River, and Satledje River) each year.”


Gilgit River


  Wherever the river flows, it belongs to whoever, but there are several agreements: it must not be harmful to the river water; exchange river data once a month; know each other before developing water conservancy; establish the Indus River Standing Committee to deal with disputes between the two countries...

  "India The "River Water Treaty" faithfully performed its duties: conflicts between India and Pakistan are frequent, but there is no one time because of the water source. The two parties also cooperated as far as possible to make the water source really benefit the coast. People.

  It's just that the two sides still have frequent conflicts. India, which is located in the upper reaches, often builds water conservancy projects that over-store water or even change the flow of the river in order to more thoroughly "squeeze" the "Indus Water Treaty." Building dams in disputed areas, hoping to introduce more water resources...

  Although human quarrels are noisy, they seem insignificant in the face of nature. The source of the Indus River and its tributaries is the familiar Himalaya glaciers. In the past 20 years, glaciers are rapidly "withering". A study showed that "90% of the glaciers in the Himalayas are melting, and some glaciers are melting at a rate close to 40 meters per year." In addition, the drought and rain in South Asia, the unbridled water pollution of major cities in India and Pakistan, and the uncontrolled development of groundwater... all these have dealt a heavy blow to the water sources of rivers, including the Indus.

  The death of the Ganges originated from endless pollution, and behind the disputes over the Indus River was the disappearing water source. From the rivers of India, we may be able to see the cruel ending that humans will face if they use the rivers uncontrollably.


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