I don’t know who, but someone once said that ‘if someone wants to know how clean and civilised are the people of a city, then he must simply peep into the rivers of the city. Dirtier a river is, uncivilised is the populace of the city’. This perhaps is 100 pc true and if we look into the most beautiful cities across the world, we will find that these cities in fact have few of the most exotic and scenic riverside. But can we say the same about the river sights from India? I believe not!
I strongly believe that the city of Guwahati falls in an elite list of few unique cities of the world. Being a city in the plains, Guwahati is blessed with beautiful hill tops, numerous natural water tanks and of course two rivers that flows through the middle of its heart.
But the sad reality is that the city is fast loosing its beauty and the above picturesque depiction currently is just a part of my imagination. Most of the once green hill tops have become bald and brown; the natural water tanks have been filled up for giving space to engineering endeavours and the rivers…
The two rivers with which the city is blessed are the Bharalu and the mighty Brahmaputra- which is also called as the Burha Luit and the Mahabahu. While the Bhralau once upon a time was known for its pure and clean water and the tasty fishes, the Brahmaputra on the other hand has continued to be the life support for many.
Legendary musician late Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s romance with the Brahmaputra is well known. He not just sang about it, but he sang for it. It was as if he was in a divine relationship with the river. But today when I see the river and its banks, especially in Guwahati, I feel sad to see the pathetic sights all around. What have we done to this majestic beauty and its picturesque banks?
The photographs that follow tell a tale of human abuse. These photographs are primarily taken at the Uzan Bazar riverside, which is famous for holding different festivals and carnivals.
Apart from shits and garbage of all kinds, what I found in the place is crows and that too in large numbers. I read somewhere that crows easily rip the thrash and rummage through it, thereby making any place look ugly. The presences of crows in large numbers indicate that the riverside is full of thrash and garbage, dumped by the much civilised Guwahtians! There are areas where an obnoxious pungent smell is highly prominent.
Brahmaputra banks are the most visited place at anytime of the year. People not only visit the banks for casual outings and picnics, but also to attend the numerous festivals- the permission for which is given by the administration. I have failed to wonder what people achieve by destroying the nature and its beauty and then revisit the same place in search of serenity and then complain that the place is dirty and filthy? Who are to be blamed? If we can’t create, we should at least not destroy.
The Burha Luit is grasping for free air. Let it breathe and live.
This is just one bank, the most popular of all the river banks of Guwahati. Do we still have time for a revival?