RISHIKESH: Participants from over 100 countries came together to support a proclamation to save the river Ganga at the ongoing International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan on Saturday. The participants reaffirmed in the proclamation the importance of Ganga “which has inspired poets, saints and sages for centuries and has been the lifeline for some 500 million people, as well as for countless species of plants and animals, some of which can be found at no place else on earth.” “We, the people of the world, do hereby unite to take a stand for the majestic and holy Ganga river. We, as travellers to and within India, expect Ganga’s waters to be clean and serene. We expect them to nourish us and to inspire us. Yet, we see rubbish mar her banks and lyrical flow. We learn of billions of litres of sewage and toxic chemicals that are permitted to foul these waters every day. In some places, we are startled to see that there is no Ganga at all, because her waters have been diverted or extracted to the point in which there is nothing left but dry rocks and parched dreams,” the proclamation said.

Those taking the pledge wore sashes bearing their respective countries’ name and came from almost five continents, said Nandini Tripathi, one of the organisers. The proclamation termed “Ganga as a global symbol, which ties us all together.” “She is a reason for our travels, the muse of countless songs. We feel her pain as our own. We have gathered to commit ourselves towards protecting the Ganga and her tributaries and to recognize her rights to flow free and clean in order to nourish us, as well as to provide healthy lives and sustainable livelihoods for all who depend on her.”