By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh– Its religious mindset was never in doubt, but the first BJP government in Haryana is using technology, including space technology, to execute its project reviving and rejuvenating the mythological Saraswati river that is once said to have flowed through areas that now make up the state.
The state government, which is on a “mission mode” to execute the project and has sanctioned over Rs 50 crore (over $7 million) for this, has roped in national agencies like the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) to speed up work in this direction.
“The Haryana government is working in a mission mode for the revival and rejuvenation of Saraswati river. The river is a national heritage of India,” Haryana Art and Cultural Affairs Minister Kavita Jain said here.
“The Saraswati river is part of our rich cultural heritage and coordinated efforts are needed for its revival that would go a long way in making India Vishvaguru (world leader) once again. ISRO has been working on Saraswati river for the last 20 years,” Jain said.
The state government has signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for the investigation of a palaeochannel (the remnant of an inactive river or stream that has been filled or buried by sediment) and study of hydrological aspects relating to the Saraswati river.
The agreement has been signed by the Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board (HSHDB), ISRO and NIH.
The MoU envisages customising specific geo-spatial solutions for a multi-disciplinary GIS (geographic information system) database and design and development of the Saraswati Palaeochannel web portal.
The water balance study of the Saraswati river’s catchment ara would be done through hydro-geological modeling and geo-spatial techniques. This would be carried out in four phases from 2018 to 2020.
“It is a matter of pride that Adi Badri (in what is now Haryana) is the originating point of this river. In the ancient times, our Vedas were also written at the river banks. The Saraswati river, after passing through (what is now) Haryana, got submerged in (what is now) Rajasthan,” Jain said.
The tell-tale signs on the ground of the Saraswati river and the religiously-minded BJP government are giving shape to the revival efforts of the hitherto invisible river.
The BJP government was, in April 2015, buoyed by the “discovery” of water at just seven feet in Rohlaheri village of Haryana’s Yamunanagar district during digging work to find the mythological river.
After having made its intention clear that it will go all out to dig the Saraswati river, the government headed by Chief MInister Manohar Lal Khattar had issued directions that the excavation work of Saraswati river from its origin district to Kurukshetra, the land of the epic Mahabharata, be completed on a “war footing”.
The river, named the goddess of learning in Hindu religion, finds mention in ancient scriptures like the Rig Veda, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and others, giving credence to the belief that it existed during ancient times.
The state government has made a provision to keep books, research papers and other material related to the Saraswati river in district libraries of Kurukshetra, Kaithal and Yamunanagar so that information pertaining to the river reaches the masses. Digital libraries are also being set up in districts.
Khattar, who has been a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) ideologue, and other BJP ministers have been quite inclined to dig up the mystery behind the mythological river, given its significance in Hindu culture. (IANS)