Historical, Mythological, Social and Cultural Aspects

In our country rivers are held in high regard. They carry signatures of our culture, tradition and religions. Most of the rituals that form part of a person’s life journey has connection with rivers in one way or other. Consequently, no study or effort towards river conservation and management can take place without taking a consideration of the history, culture, mythology and religious rituals of the country.
Just as rituals and customs have affected the health and state of rivers, likewise river conservation efforts may potentially affect the way we perform our rituals. Thus, our approach should be towards achieving sustainability i.e., moving forward with our river conservation efforts in a way that does not raise conflict with customs or hinders the flow of tradition.

To achieve this objective, it may be necessary to modify our religious ceremonies and rituals so as to make them more environment friendly, particularly towards rivers. Examples could be given of using clay instead of Plaster of Paris for making idols, recycling flowers and other offerings into reusable items instead of discharging them directly into rivers, and using recycled or junk material for making pandals. Alongwith stringent law enforcement and greater public awareness, these efforts ensure that we are able to maintain our tradition and observe our rituals without posing any threat to our rivers. Such efforts are not just limited to the religious festivals only, instead to every aspect of our cultural lives. A specific example could be given of the prevailing cremation practices. Several novel and modified methods for funeral of dead persons have been suggested and are being accepted and incorporated in varying degree. Making these changes not only ensures health of our rivers but also helps in preserving our culture by adapting it to changing times.

The various activities under this portfolio are classified under four categories: Historical, Mythological, Social and Cultural Aspects.