Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From Divine To Drain

Yamuna River is one of the longest rivers in India, and one of the dirtiest too. Flowing from the Yamunotri glacier in Uttarakhand, Yamuna covers a distance of 1,376 km long river, before merging with the Ganga in Allahabad. In Hinduism, Yamuna is revered as a goddess. 70 percent of Delhi’s water requirement is fulfilled by this river. Yet, Delhi is the most polluted stretch in the entire length of the sacred river.

Yamuna in Delhi covers a distance of 22 km from the Wazirabad dam to Okhla barrage. Between these two points, 18 different drains fall into the river, 16 directly and 4 from the Agra and Gurgaon canal. In spite of being heavily polluted, the river banks remain comfortably populated. A large number of people depend on the river for their residential, commercial and spiritual purposes, apart from drainage, of course. I 
am kick-starting a photography project to trace the two faces of this river - 'Divine' and 'Drain'. This project is an attempt to feature the lives Yamuna supports as it dies in the city.

The intention to photograph people and places around Yamuna stems from the fact that I have spent my last 10 years near this river. I have grown with it. I see it every day. The calmness of the water soothes me and sometimes the rising level scares me. There are many others who have found a piece of land on the banks of Yamuna to survive the rest of their life. They get displaced each year during the monsoon flooding of the river. But they resettle on the river, as soon as the water recedes. What makes them stick to the river, that too a heavily toxic one? People still pray to the river, come for a dip early in the morning dodging all the garbage, believing that the river washes away all their sins. Probably the way it rids Delhi of its waste. Yamuna has a multi-faceted flow in the city, and it gets treated in multiple ways too – from divine to drain.

Join me in this initiative and help Yamuna live.

You can connect with me through the following mediums:
facebook.com/aaqibrk  |  twitter.com/aaqibrk  |  #SaveYamuna  |  aaqibkhan1@gmail.com