With his sacrifice, Nigamanand exposed double facet Sangh. By Navaid Hamid

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Nigamanand, the crusader to save river Ganga had died after a lonely battle in Himalayan Hospital, the same hospital where Sangh’s puppet Ramdev who is alleged to have built a vast empire of business in disguise of the Charitable Trusts was admitted by the Sangh parivar’s administered Uttarakhand Government in Dehradun after a week of his fast against ‘corruption’ seems to have fizzled its charm because of the serious nature of allegations against him and his inability to disclose total assets and interests in business concerns.
The unknown Sanyasi was on the hunger strike since February last against quarrying activities in the BJP ruled Uttarakhand state and had chosen the Gandhian path to attract not only the national media but also the pseudo nationalist’s Sangh leadership who left no stone unturned to rake up religious sentiments of the masses.
Ganga in the past have been on the agenda of the Sangh parivar to garner votes and not for the reason that the sacred river is the source of life for substantial populace of northern India. The river has a special significance in the Hindu religion as most of the Hindu pilgrim centres lies on the banks of long route of Ganga starting from Gangotri to Varanasi. The river being personified as ‘Godess’ is worshiped by the Hindu population and is believed that bathing in Ganga’s flowing waters washes one’s sins besides liberating from the cycle of life and death. It is also considered holy for another reason of being path to heaven with a belief that if the ashes of the dear ones are immersed in Ganga or Ganges, the loved ones would pass on to heaven.
Considered sacred in the religious scriptures, the Indian Bolywood too had exploited its sacred identity and one of the favorite patriotic song of the Bolywood includes “Jis desh mein ganga behti hai-The nation where the Ganges flows”.
Swami Nigamanand was on the fast for 115 days before he left for the immortal world for the pious reason to save the environment; to stop the illegal quarrying; for shifting of Stone Crusher from the Kumbh Mela area (sacred river festival) and thus wake up the Sangh’s Senapati in Uttarkhand.
No hindutva organisation or leader thought it worthy to support the cause of Nigamanad for the simple reason that not only the swami was genuine in his fight but also the culprit was the Sangh’s leadership of state administration. Nigamanand’s appeals and fast to death for a pious reason fell on the deaf ears of the Sangh parivar. Sangh’s leadership might have not considered it worthy to support Nigamanad as the cause for which he was struggling would not have garnered the votes.
No leader of worth from the Sangh parivar thought it necessary to visit fasting Nigamanand inspite of the race they were indulged in visiting Ramdev few steps away from the bed where Nigamanad was struggling for his life. Even Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had not utter a single word in support of the environmentalist during Nigamanand’s life time.
With his sacrifice of the environmentalist sanyasi has become immortal not only for the cause for which he strugled and lost his life but also for exposing the double facets of the Sangh parivar.

(The writer is member, National Integration Council, Government of India and can be reached at navaidhamid@gmail.com)

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