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New Delhi : A panel discussion on National Geographic Film, ‘Ganga: The River from the Skies’ was organised on November 2, 2021, during the three-day Ganga Utsav 2021 being celebrated by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

The session was moderated by Mike Pandey, a well-known wildlife film maker and winner of Green Osca, who is also the host of the film.  He set the context of the discussion by sharing his own understanding of Ganga while shooting the film. In his emotive poetic style, he explained that nature is self-sufficient to maintain and keep itself clean. “Ganga is nothing but trillions of drops of water. When these water drops come together, they form Ganga. Similarly, we all can come together and create a difference,” Mike said, according to a PIB release.

The film captures many things as through Mike Pandey’s journey we experience Ganga’s beautiful voyage across India, due to a mosaic of cultures, traditions, and unique relationships with the river – from the fishermen in Sundarbans who depend on the river for their livelihood, to Bhagalpur where India’s National aquatic animal, the Gangetic Dolphin thrives.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG, speaking about his meeting with Mike at Kanpur during the shoot of film shared that cleaning sisamunala of Kanpur was one of the major milestones in the journey of Namami Gange Mission giving confidence that when the monstrous nala can be tamed, rest is very much possible. The challenge in Kanpur and journey to tackle the herculean problem of pollution abatement – from tanneries,  to untreated sewage flowing into the river is shown in the film. Because of the integrated approach adopted by NMCG, and the construction of Common Effluent Treatment plants and Sewage Treatments Plants, the flow of untreated water into the Ganga has been arrested to a large extent.

The film then documents Varanasi, where the river takes a spiritual, almost divine form. Millions flock to the city every year to quell their spiritual thirst. Trichur Brothers, composers of Namami Gange Anthem said they got inspiration for composing this anthem from the Prime Minister’s historic speech on Ganga and launch of Namami Gange mission. This is their way of paying tribute to Maa Ganga which is very dear to them.  They recited few lines from their legendry Namami Gange anthem energising the audience who all joined in chorus for last lines.

In Uttarakhand, Ganga’s birthplace, a more pristine, a clearer and lush river basking in its true glory is seen. Here ancient traditions speak of naulas, a method to preserve and use pure spring water for our needs. It has been tried to capture the complex issues at play and some of the work being done to rejuvenate the Ganga.  Prof Vinod Tare of IIT Kanpur and head of cGanga highlighted the importance of understanding wholesomeness of river.

Mike concluded the discussion sharing that the film is not an ordinary film as it will be a reflection of majestic river Ganga, a river with a soul. The film is expected to be released on Nat Geo later this year.