River a reflection of us

ganga pollution

It takes an entire mountain range to make a river. Hundreds and thousands of small rivulets merge together to make a river. I can’t help but take this as an analogy of a civilization where individuals come together and define it. What we do to our rivers in a way becomes reflection of who we are.

Once you have seen the forming of a river you can’t un see it. It etches into you and it’s relentless flow hypnotizes you. Countless meditators have taken the flow of river as a metaphor of how thoughts flow and achieved inner peace.

Since time immemorial rivers have sustained life and given rise to an entire way of life. Death of a river in a way is a death of life itself.

We in India have long neglected our rivers or taken them for granted. As long as we have dammed them and used their water we need not worry what we do with the residual waters.

Long predicted war on waters is at our doorstep and we have already seen many conflicts here in our country itself. As we industrialize more and keep neglecting our precious rivers we are only augmenting the incoming doom. We all know what to do yet we fail to do what is necessary. When we do we do it too late or too little too late.

What needs to change is not only our way of looking at rivers but way we function. No one really know what climate change will really do to us. Extreme weather and melting glacier’s impact is unfolding in front of our very eyes. Yet we remain self-absorbed and continue to dump our rivers literally down the drain.
Rivers make their own way which is efficient and it sustains entire eco system, once that eco system is destroyed beyond point of no return, we really don’t know what it will do to millions of people directly depended on its fresh waters. Where will they go? What will happen to their land?

Rivers balances salinity of the sea water and once the flows are completely choked, salinity levels will create havoc on sea life and remaining people who depend on sea to collide with other.

Dooms day scenario is one of favorite topics of Hollywood and it has popularized this zombie culture where men have basically come to terms with its end. This has led to creation of a whole sub culture where it is believed that it is better to end and perhaps after that there will be a fresh start. The fresh start no one has seen and nobody can guarantee it will happen. But are we ready to die now for the fresh start? A wait for Kalki only underlines our ineptitude and mass amnesia towards our surroundings.

I don’t think it is necessary to die, what needs to die though is way we see things? Our long held belief that nature is to serve humans need to change. We are part of nature and if we loose respect of each other than we loose it all.

Education to business all need to re look at the way they function and their priorities. One needs to question it all. What have we done to our surroundings and what we need to do and how?

Depending on governments will be foolish, there is enormous strength in collective thinking and action and if we don’t recognize that then the planet is better off without us.

Vijayendra is a Mumbai-based artist. His background is painting and site-specific performance and installation. He studied Fine Arts from M.S.University, Baroda, India and did his second Masters at Interactive telecommunications program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Been born and brought up in an urban environment one is constantly faced with questions of one’s relationship with the other, nature and cosmos at large within the context of everyday survival. A process to remain thinking and feeling person in a system which values gross productivity over everything else, makes the sum total of my practice. And work becomes a process of learning and being. In his previous avatars he has worked at film production company in New York City and has shown/performed his works in India, USA, Middle East and Europe.


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