World Water Day at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh
Value of Water is Crucial Now: From the banks of Maa Ganga
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji lead pledge with students, teachers and principals of WaterSchools Programmes to protect, preserve and serve water
March 22, 2021: World Water Day is a special day to raise awareness on the global water crisis. This year’s theme is “Valuing Water.” The value of water is about much more than money— water has a massive and multifaceted value for our homes, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our environment. We risk mishandling this limited, irreplaceable source, if we do not pay attention to any of these values.
On the banks of Mother Ganga, a World Water Day celebration was held at Parmarth Niketan Rishikesh in partnership with the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) Swarovski WaterSchools, in association with the Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) and the Divine Shakti Foundation, where young water champions joined forces to share their song, videos, art, theater and spoken word performances. Together, they vowed to spread the word that now is the time for all to save water and protect the environment.
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA team), under the inspiration and leadership of its co-founder HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, who is also President of Parmarth Niketan, has been training communities surrounding Rishikesh and in villages on how to lead their own areas towards a Swachhta Kranti or Clean Revolution. In addition, GIWA through the WaterSchools have been educating students, teachers and principals through a specialized curriculum based on how to value water, sanitation, and hygiene. This programme is working in over 60 schools! GIWA has been supporting communities by constructing toilets and hand-washing stations for schools in need of them located around Rishikesh. GIWA is a humanitarian organization which believes in the power of faith to work with the people and environment and for the people and environment.
The celebration began in front of the Parmath Niketan ashram at 10AM on Monday, March 22, 2021, on the Ganga Ghat with students, HH Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati ji inspired and ignited passion for a people’s led movement for water consveration. Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji expressed, “The cycle of life is intricately linked to water; it is even, perhaps, embedded in water. From our first nine months swimming in a womb to our ashes being immersed in a sacred river or scattered across the ocean, from the essential nectar we drink to that which turns apple seeds into apple trees, water is an integral part of our very existence….however if we don’t protect this sacred resource it won’t be long until we will have no more water. It is time for us to wake up and realise the time to act is now!”
Pujya Swamiji shared, “There was a time when we valued gold, when we valued oil but the time has come when we must value water. Because without water there is no life. I once said during our Hariyali Yatra two years ago that it won’t be long until we need to wear masks but today I foresee it won’t be long till we carry oxygen and water cylinders on our backs unless we change our ways. We must lead more water and environmental conscious lives protecting our natural resources not just for the next generation but for the NOW generation.”
Pujya Swami Ji encouraged everyone to pledge their dedication to keeping Maa Ganga clean, green and pristine. Then, the GIWA team and Parmarth Rishikumars joined Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagwatiji on a beautiful rally around the Parmarth Niketan campus in support of water conservation and bring awareness to this issue concluding the first half of the program.
Following the rally, the World Water Day at Parmarth Niketan hosted an art competition, during which enthusiastic children and students from across the region demonstrated their talent to share their own unique messages about water. Later, a grand stage programme was held, during which children showed their flair in telling the dramatic stories of water, nature and the plight of the River Ganga. Young children also shared their own unique viewpoints, inspiring all with thoughts that often surpassed their ages. A beautiful presentation was also made to highlight and showcase the work done by the WaterSchools initiative to inspire communities who are more conscious of water!
Concluding the event, Pujya Sadhvi Ji brought the future to our forefront by explaining the UN has stated by 2030 India would not have 50% less water meaning people could die of dehydration. Moreover, she encouraged participants to think outside the box and find solutions to water wastage. She went one to say that we can have all the money and riches but if we have no money we have no life.
Pujya Swami Ji highlighted points from the student performances that we must value water or one day we will have to ration water and pick who in our household gets water. Water is more valuable than silver or gold, and if we are not careful one day water will be used as a form of dowry. “No pani, No shaadi” Lastly, Pujya Swami Ji, encouraged people to seek real medical professional and scientific evidence than believe myths or false science. Stressing the importance of being mindful about the water we drink and how much we use.
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), in partnership with Swarovski Waterschools was proud to host this celebration this year at Parmarth Niketan to encourage the people, make them understand the water issues, and also coordinate with the international activities for World Water Day. The 2021 theme of “valuing water” was depicted throughout the event through rallies, art, theatre and words of wisdom. Members of the ashrams, students, teachers, parents and principals got involved in the promotional activities raise the awareness of water. Issues of water, sanitation and hygiene were not only highlighted but discussed and encouraged to take action in conserving water in their own communities. Therefore, now the time comes to take steps forward and unite together to conserve our precious natural resources.
Save Water, Save Life!