In 2018, Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, earlier known as Professor Guru Das Agrawal when he used to teach at Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, wrote four letters to the Prime Minister when he went on a fast for 112 days demanding a law for conservation of Ganga before he succumbed on 11th October at All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, in which he held the PM responsible for his imminent death.
On 24th February, 2018 he wrote to the PM addressing him as his younger brother, ‘ Being your elder brother, and also being elder to you in both education and intellect, and above all being someone who is ready to stake his all for the health-comfort-happiness of Mā Gangā jī even before you have done so, in respect of issues relating to Gangā jī, I have the locus to explain to you and even have the right to give you directives in relation to the number of ailments of the mother which do not get reduced because of your being crowned based both on your good fortune as well as on the strength of clever manoeuvring of popular pulse.’ Then he stated three expectations from the PM and said, ‘Having observed the priorities as well as the mode of action of you as well as your Government over the past three years and more, the possibility of my expectations being fulfilled within my lifetime are negligible and the unbearable pain caused because of the neglect of the interests beneficial to Mā Gangā jī has made my life itself unbearable – therefore, I have decided that with the … three expectations of mine remaining unfulfilled by Gangā Dussehra (22nd June 2018), I will go on a fast unto death and with a prayer to the descendant of Mahārājā Bhagīratha — who brought Mā Gangā jī to earth — the all-powerful Lord Ram — that for the charges of having harmed the interests beneficial to Mā Gangā as well as having killed Gangā Bhakta elder brother, you be given appropriate punishment and with such a prayer, I will give my life up.’
Writing again on 13 June, again addressing the PM as younger brother Swami Sanand stated, ‘I should have known, after 106 days over three and a half months, there is no acknowledgement, reply or any work in the interest of mother Ganga ji or environment (which may have benefitted them). Do you have time for the deplorable state of mother Ganga or consider the anguish of an old man like me? Alright brother, why should I continue to bear the suffering. I will go on a continuous fast from Friday, the 22nd June, 2018 (the day Ganga appeared on earth) with a resolve to give up my life, condemning you and praying to Lord Ram that he should punish you sufficiently for having neglected the state of mother Ganga and for the murder of an elder brother.’ Swami Sanand thus ended the letter, ‘ May God give you better sense and also the fruits of all your good/bad deeds. Mother Ganga ji may not spare you for ignoring her or betraying her..’
By the time Swami Sanand wrote his third letter he had realised that he was dealing with an insensitive individual and addressed his letter on 5 August to ‘Respected Prime Minister’ keeping the tenor of letter very formal. He wrote, ‘ It was my expectation that you would … make special efforts for the sake of Gangaji because you went ahead and created a separate Ministry for all works relating to Gangaji, but in the past four years all actions undertaken by your Government have not at all been gainful to Ganga ji and in Her place gains are to be seen only for the Corporate Sector and several business houses.’ This is the only letter in which he doesn’t seek punishment for the PM from Lord Ram. He only says, ‘ It is my request to you that you accept the … four desired requirements which remain the same as I have listed in my previous letter written to you dated 13th of June 2018, failing which I will give up my life continuing my fast. I have no qualms about giving up my life because the issue of Ganga ji is very significant to me and is of utmost priority.’
In the fourth and last letter written on 30 September Swami Sanand expresses his anguish thus, ‘When you delivered your speech as a candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi you said Mother Ganga had called you there, and you didn’t want anything from her, you had come to serve her. I thought that you also consider her your mother from your heart (which I do and have been trying since 2008 to the best of my ability to restore its Aviralta, pristine flow and qualities) and because of your relationship with her and you being 18 years younger to me, you were my younger brother. Hence I wrote the first three letters to you considering you my younger brother. It dawned upon me towards end of July that even though she may have summoned you with affection, got you elected and got the position of Prime Minister to you but now in the tussle for political power (any maybe its arrogance) you may not remember your mother and if you don’t remember your mother, where is the question of considering anybody your brother.’ The he revealed his final resolve, ‘… this is my 101st day with lemon water. If the government wanted to do anything for Ganga ji, which for millenniums with her pristine qualities has benefitted the people with faith in Indian culture, then it had more than enough time. Hence I’ve decided that from Ashwin Shukl Pratipada (9th October, 2018) from midday after taking my last dip in Ganga and after accepting water for the last time I’ll give up water too (through mouth, nose, drip, syringe or any other way) and wait for the end of my life (If anybody produces a proof of my demands related to Ganga ji having been fulfilled after 12 noon on 9th October, 2018 even then I’ll not pay any attention). I wish Lord Ram will fulfil my vow so that I may reach Him and get the people who’ve ignored the interest of Ganga ji (who is also respected by Lord Ram) punished. In His court I’ll blame you personally for my murder – whether it is accepted or not.’
The PM sent a tweet on 11 October upon Swami Sanand’s death, ‘ Saddened by the demise of Shri GD Agrawal Ji. His passion towards learning, education, saving the environment, particularly cleaning of Ganga will always be remembered. My condolences.’ This was the only response of Narendra Modi to Swami Sanand’s fast and four letters written by him to PM, unfortunately it was too late. The question remains why did Narendra Modi not want to interact with alive Swami Sanand?
Swami Sanand had held Narendra Modi responsible for his possible death in his three letters and Narendra Modi didn’t do anything to save the life of Swami Sanand, who was superior to him in all respects. How can Narendra Modi for whom Swami Sanand had sought punishment from Lord Ram lay the foundation of Ram temple?
Sandeep Pandey is Vice President of Socialist Party (India).