Last year, on this day, the 19th February 2011, Swami Nigamananda took the place of another sadhu, Swami Yajnanda as a part of their long struggle against illegal mining of the riverbanks of the Ganga. Determined and unnoticed, Matra Sadan, the Ashram these Sadhus belonged to has been waging an overwhelming resistance to the illegal and environmentally harmful practice devastating the river, riverbank, water table, agriculture and health in this region.
Repeated protests and fasts have brought limited results and massive collusion to strip these precious resources leave them with little to fight with. Brief halts, yes, and then the mining resumes again. It is not an election issue at all, because while the current BJP government is complicit, so are the other parties, and there is little motivation to arrest this menace.
I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that while we are irresponsibly destroying our water resources for instant profit, we are actually set for a head on collision with crippling water scarcity not to far into the future, and this rape of our water tables is not helping matters.
So anyway, as we know, Sawmi Nigamananda did succeed in getting attention to the issues with his death. Less because anyone actually cared about him and more because he happened to be sharing the same ward with Swami Ramdev when he was admitted to hospital after his fast for the Lokpal and the media circus was parading right by.
Tehelka published an excellent look into the illegal mining activity that takes names and gives specifics. A must read.
We failed this man. We failed to support his voice. That is fact. It is easy to say we failed rather than ask for a second chance and risk a second failure. But I think more important than saying we failed and moving on to the next shiny thing, we should dig in our heels and not allow him to fail. We should still support the cause and take it up and drive change.
I am inspired by this man. He died trying to achieve something I value deeply. As a mark of my respect, I am going to support this struggle and raise awareness for the cause that consumed him. In different ways, but using every opportunity I find and sharing resources that I can, I am going to talk about his cause every day from today until the first anniversary of his death on the 13th June 2012. It may be tweets, it may be articles, it may be sharing statistics and research and information and history and more on the subjects. It may be writing blog posts, tweeting, sharing things others wrote. But every single day, I am going to be sure to promote some or the other enriching information that helps us understand these issues better.
I think this is a far worthier shraddhanjali to him than platitudes.
Do join in. Share articles you find, talk about it, nose around and provide information. I think this would possibly be the equivalent of showering flower petals.
Feel free to add your views in the comments. If you would like to write an article on the subject for this blog, comment, and I will send you the address to send it to.