Polluted River in UP Becomes Symbol of Communal Unity
The town of Maholi, in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh, has been forging a path of harmonious religious co-existence. People of various faiths there are not just accepting of each other they are accommodative. From using loudspeakers judiciously to helping out with arrangements during festivals, the town had a spirit of getting along in every aspect of life. One particular situation is the perfect example of this harmony the River Kathina that flows through their town. Polluted and filthy, Kathina’s deterioration was worrying members of all faiths all of whom used the water.
Started by an ashram and the temple administration, the drive to clean up the river immediately saw members of the mosque and the Gurdwara join in.
“Keeping our rivers clean is our duty and we will continue seva whenever required,” Ujagar Singh, a member of the Gurdwara community said. To Sikhs, the cleaning of River Kathina is equivalent to ‘seva’ or service, an essential tenet of Sikhism.
Together they removed truckloads of hyacinth that was obstructing the flow of water and got rid of garbage like plastic, polythene, human waste, animal carcasses, and even boat wrecks. It took volunteers three days to clear excrement from the banks! Finally, they managed to clear a one-kilometre stretch. They now plan to have a proper waste managing system for their small town and have decided to muster support from local administration to prevent littering.
“The challenge is to maintain the cleanliness level of the river. We could clean only a small stretch this time, but we will rally again and take the movement to the second phase,” said Abdul Rauf from the mosque committee.
Religious centres ashrams, temples, mosques, gurudwaras etc., are natural assemblies of people, who can be motivated to do almost anything by their respective leaders and community members. And the actions that led to the cleaning of the Kathina river give ample proof that religion need not come in the way of unity, and the common good.
(Extracted from thebetterindia.com)