Travelling around in wonder, in the mid-east of the globe, we come to adore the third largest river of the world, the great Brahmaputra (Son of Lord Brahma). Among the youngest of its kind, geographically and popularity, it flows through many Asian countries, which includes the merging with other large rivers of Indian subcontinent like Ganges, and additive with streams and brooks of many countries thus, inking a lot of names with it.
Rivers in India and Bangladesh are given feminine names for its beauty and its comparison with the ability of a woman to nourish, give life, mysterious , thus representing itself for an ancient wisdom that bestows respect to a woman.But, contrary to it, Brahmaputra is given a musculine name due to its calm nature , strong and bold edges and oceanic flow , something men must aspire to be. Rivers like Damodar and Ajay too are named in the way, but is not significant as Brahmaputra for its huge size. Due to the large containment of iron deposits in soil, it is haze red in visibility and thus, grabbing a name of 'red river'. Most devotees (Hindus and Jains ) in India and Bangladesh, tends to reason out this fact by bleeding Goddess Kamakhya. Rivers are given many names as they touch many part of the life of the people and the places they travel and while rivers like Brahmaputra is no exception, it too has a lot of name attached to it, like YarlungTsangpo in Tibet, Luit (meaning blood), derived from the Sanskrit word Louhitya, in Assam, Siang in Arunachal Pradesh, and Jamuna in Bangladesh. In Bodo Culture , it is regarded as 'Burlung-Bhutur' for its trait of making loud sounds. In the Indian territory the total forest cover of the Brahmaputra basin is 1,14,894 sq. km. which is 54% of the total basin area.Recently on 31 March-4 April 2017, first edition of Namami Brahmaputra took place, which was India's first international river festival.
History has proved Brahmaputra to be a boon to all the settlers and natives for its rich nourishment and forming a base for locals against enemies. Even the famous battle of Saraighat took place near its edge.Devotees throw the ashes of the death after cremation into the river, for the Hindus believe that if a person's ashes are scattered in it that their next life will be improved.Thus, Brahmaputra being part of their spiritual and devote life.
The moving ocean,originates in the Chemayungdung mountain ranges which nearly sixty miles south-east of Mansarovar lake in the MountKailash range in Southern Tibet at an elevation of 5300 m.A spring called TamchokKhambab spills from the glaciers which later gather breath and volume to become the Tsangpo, the highest river in world.Out of its total length of 2880, Brahmaputra covers a major part of its journey in Tibet, finally ingressing Indian Subcontinent in Arunachal Pradesh, then ASSAM .Before entering India, the river passes Pi in Tibet and suddenly turns to the north and northeast and cuts a course through a succession of great narrow gorges between the mountain Gyala Peri and Namjabarwa (Namcha Barwa) in a series of rapids and cascades representing a great sharp U, visible from space.
Entering through cutt hills of Shillong,it engress into Bangladesh merging with the Teesta river (tista), one of the largest tributaries.Spliting into two, the western branch dues south to join the lower ganga, the Padma River.And the eastern branch joins the Meghna river near the capital, to finally coverging with the western one,in Chandpur and flow out into the Bay of Bengal.
For the people of Assam, it is a great symbol of pride due to its oceanic size, but it also ignites fear when it rises to its full strength during flood times.People have faced difficult times during those repeatitive instance.Singer Jayanta Hazarika in his song "Xurbahini" ,initiated relief funds for the victims.But this river is also the source of strength for the assamese people.Time and times, people has expressed their unity as Luitporia (People of the river).During Indian Freedom Movement, cultural Icon Jyoti Prasad Agarwal wrote "Luitor deka loraami, moribolebhoinai(we are the son of Brahmaputra and we don't fear death)".Bharat Ratna Awardee and Sudhakanta of Assam, Bhupen Hazarika said
“ উন্মত্তধৰাৰেকুৰুক্ষেত্ৰৰে, শৰশয্যাকেআলিংগনকৰা, ভীষ্মৰূপীঅজস্ৰবীৰক,জগাইনোতোলাকিয় “
( Breaking hard fury craziness, Embracing those sleeping in beds; Millions of millions of Indians; why didn’t you make them conscious ) to homage the mighty river.
July 2019: SadikulHaq of Central Water Commission told ANI, " Water is flowing 1.5 cm above danger level and it is increasing 2-3 cm per hour. The rising water level can be a danger for the city”. The news was during the flood of July-August prevalent in Assam.
Over 26.5 lakh people from both rural and urban sector were affected.Flood fury on Barpeta affecting 7.35 lakh, followed by Maligoan with 3.50 lakh, and Dhubri with rising 3.38 lakh were accordedby the reports of Disaster Management Authority. 70% of Kajiranga National Park has been affected to the extreme. To make the matter deteriorate even further, it was increasing at an alarming rate of 2-3cm/hour destroying farming grounds, slowing urban works including public works development. Yet, it is fails to be recognized as a national issue, in the eyes of Indian Government. Out of all north-eastern states, Assam faces the most severe brunt of floods and aligned erosions.
More appropriate and practical studies are must as such menace hampers the economy of the nation as begging money by the state from Central Government to aid the affected people are just futile for we can see no change, as our prime aim should be to prevent such consequences of a mighty river.Crores of assets has already been drawn and more to come.People are out of their homes , and settling on streets, which pictorise a bad picture to tourist and shows the incapability of World’s Largest Democracy, to take care of its people.One of the proposed solution to control the flood happens to be a multi-purpose dam.
But the idea of control of flood and generation of hydro-power is seen unviable from experiences.To support it Bhakra Dam and Hirakud Dam are the best to place on table. These river valley projects have initiated even most avoidable flood disasters and for a large river like Brahmaputra would likely to bring havoc in North-East. As bio-diversity, seismicity, society and culture are one of the sensitive department of North-East.
Tough, the Brahmaputra is the least exploited river in India. While Water Resource Establishment, has massive projects to exploit the river basin comprising 200 hydro-power projects with total capacity worth 200 000 MW.The biggest Anti-Dam movement of India is going on right now in this basin, which has been able to delay the India’s biggest hydro-power project namely the lower Subansiri Project for close to twenty months.The movement has wide spread support within Assam and outside(and for other political forces), and in rest of India and the World.
The Brahmaputra of the world has always been a battle ground from the start of the history, and to term it as a ‘river’ is self-contradictory, still the most beautiful entity on Earth and for nature to adore.Even the most great term to describe beauty would be less to compensate the purpose of the river. The basin has a lot of stories to tell. But, the meaning to it, is given by the very people who settle by its blessings. There was always a great debate whether it is a boon or a curse.But how can something being part of nature, and in complete harmony with the surrounding can ever be a curse. Well , for humans it is. It is just a matter of perception. The situation we are in, is made of us and nothing to control the river or to blame it. But, what if for people who have seen a life ,a ray of hope, and seeked hope for peace. Are they doomed to vanquish? Rivers that give life and takes. What is its real purpose? Is it to awaken people or gift them fear? Problems are not heard still the sound of the water echoes, people are weeping and the same people smiles on the shore looking at the sunset. The solitary river calls for its help and still not waiting, as per it sees the diminishing humanity.
As the famous stanza says“ উন্মত্তধৰাৰেকুৰুক্ষেত্ৰৰে, শৰশয্যাকেআলিংগনকৰা, ভীষ্মৰূপীঅজস্ৰবীৰক, জগাইনোতোলাকিয় “
(If people are egocentric, Then society is no more dynamic, then, why don’t you (The river) break such static societies)