Delhi- In a private meeting today with HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, a historic proposal was put forward to Hon’ble Union Cultural Minister, Shri Mahesh Sharma, to declare the River Ganga a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Recently, the Kumbha Mela, which takes place in two locations on the Ganga, was formally recognized on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Recognizing the Ganga itself for its cultural heritage would be an important next step towards preserving the riverine system, which supports some 500 million human lives.
Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji – Munijii, President of Parmarth Niketan and Founder of Ganga Action Parivar, “for millennia, the River Ganga has been central to India’s cultural and religious heritage, sparking the rise of cities, the sonnets of poets, unrivalled architecture and passages of scripture. Now is time that it be recognized by UNESCO for its intrinsic importance to our world’s cultural inheritance.”
While crucial for life itself, the Ganga River is considered one of the most endangered in the world, due to over-extraction and pollution. Every day, some 3 billion litres of sewage and one billion litres of toxic chemicals contaminate the river, leading to patriotic calls to action for its revitalization from the highest levels of government.
The proposal was cordially presented to Hon’ble Dr. Mahesh Sharmaji, who expressed his appreciation of the noble concept and noted that the Ganga represents an important cultural heritage for our nation and our world.
Prior to this meeting, the concept was discussed with the Executive Director of UNSECO, Ms. Irina Bokova, when she and Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji were in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit.
Said Pujya Swamiji, “the Ganga gives the cultural touch to the world. From hut culture to high culture, can one imagine our nation without it? For this reason, now is the time it become formally recognized by UNESCO as irreplaceable to global heritage.”