In 2008, about 50 images posted with a first-hand account of a visitor who had spent a few months in India, had gone viral in China. Many Chinese forums and columns published them. The images are disturbing, but not for the government and Indian people except some activists and NGOs. Surprisingly, the images depicting ugly side of India did improve sanitation condition in China. China has its own flaws, but it can’t be denied that Indian aren’t treating sacred river as it should be. On the other hand, Indians don’t mind such embarrassment or they don’t actually know how India is perceived by rest of the world.
India enjoys an image of ancient civilization with spiritual values. There is no country in the world like India when it comes to cultural and social diversity. Tourist are nuts for places like Varanasi. Every state has something unique to offer to tourists. From Himalayas in the north to the costs in the south, from billion dollar buildings to poverty stricken slums, India makes a perfect destination for those who seek exposure to world’s biggest and successful democracy.
But India and Indians are ridiculed and embarrassed by other nations for its filth and religious hypocrisy. The River Ganges is considered the holiest river for Hindus, and also the most polluted. Despite being so sacred, there is nothing that is not dumped into the river. Raw sewage, plastic bags and bottles, industrial effluents, human waste, chemicals from tanneries, discarded idols, cow dung, partially cremated corpses, flower-garlands, human remains, animal carcasses, butcher’s offal, chemical dyes from sari factories and construction waste, everything ends up in River Ganges. Daily, people defecate on the banks of this sacred river, while many others come a long way to take a bath in the same water.
The condition hasn’t changed much in 2015. In January 2015, more than 100 corpses, including children, were found washed up in shallow tributary's of the River Ganges. The bodies were decaying and dogs and birds could be seen feeding on them. About 102 bodies were spotted near the village Pariyar, in Uttar Pradesh. All credit goes to India’s customs to give water burials. Many people do it because they can’t afford proper cremation.
For Indians, it’s a bitter reality that foreign countries, especially China find images of Indian filth effective for scaring their people about the ugly reality of poor waste disposal habits and littering.
The Prime Minister of India has vowed to clean the River Ganges. The government has also built around nine million(?) (90 lakh) toilets in the past one year to eradicate open defecation, as claimed by the PM.
However, India still needs an awakening. We are re-posting the images posted in a Chinese forum. India can do better. All it needs is a motivation, and we guess, these images might wake, if not all, then some citizens.
And the last picture, A beautiful sunset over a corpse on the Ganges River