River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and India's Future

River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and India's Future

by Victor Mallet

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Overview

India is killing the Ganges, and the Ganges in turn is killing India. The waterway that has nourished more people than any on earth for three millennia is now so polluted with sewage and toxic waste that it has become a menace to human and animal health.

Victor Mallet traces the holy river from source to mouth, and from ancient times to the present day, to find that the battle to rescue what is arguably the world's most important river is far from lost. As one Hindu sage told the author in Rishikesh on the banks of the upper Ganges (known to Hindus as the goddess Ganga): "If Ganga dies, India dies. If Ganga thrives, India thrives. The lives of 500 million people is no small thing."

Drawing on four years of first-hand reporting and detailed historical and scientific research, Mallet delves into the religious, historical, and biological mysteries of the Ganges, and explains how Hindus can simultaneously revere and abuse their national river.

Starting at the Himalayan glacier where the Ganges emerges pure and cold from an icy cave known as the "Cow's Mouth" and ending in the tiger-infested mangrove swamps of the Bay of Bengal, Mallet encounters everyone from the naked holy men who worship the river, to the engineers who divert its waters for irrigation, the scientists who study its bacteria, and Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist prime minister, who says he wants to save India's mother-river for posterity.

Can they succeed in saving the river from catastrophe - or is it too late?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198786177
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/19/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 631,217
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Victor Mallet is a journalist and author who has reported for three decades from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, first for Reuters and then for the Financial Times. From 2012 to 2016 he was based in New Delhi as the FT's South Asia Bureau Chief, and is currently in Hong Kong as Asia News Editor. His highly praised book on the south-east Asian industrial revolution and the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, The Trouble with Tigers (HarperCollins), was first published in 1999. He twice won the Society of Publishers in Asia award for opinion writing. In India, he was awarded the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism as a foreign correspondent for a 2012 feature about the rise of Narendra Modi.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Killing the mother goddess
Chapter 2 Mouth of the Cow: the Himalayan source
Chapter 3 Holy waters
Chapter 4 How to build a megacity - and save the Ganges
Chapter 5 Varanasi: Hinduism's capital city
Chapter 6 Varanasi revisited: Two days in the holy city
Chapter 7 Toxic river
Chapter 8 Superbug river: Not a magic cure - a deadly gene carrier
Chapter 9 Of dolphins, crocodiles and tigers
Chapter 10 Demography: not a dividend
Chapter 11 Water and wells: why the taps run dry
Chapter 12 Droughts and dams: engineering the Ganges
Chapter 13 A Bollywood star: Ganga on film
Chapter 14 Exotic river: the Ganges seen by foreigners
Chapter 15 Storms and sandbanks: boat travel on the Ganges
Chapter 16 Trade artery no more: Calcutta and Bengal
Chapter 17 Mission impossible? How to clean the Ganges
Chapter 18 Beautiful forest: Where Ganga meets the ocean
Bibliography
Notes
Index
1. Introduction: Killing the mother goddess
2. Mouth of the Cow: the Himalayan source
3. Holy waters
4. How to build a megacity - and save the Ganges
5. Varanasi: Hinduism's capital city
6. Varanasi revisited: Two days in the holy city
7. Toxic river
8. Superbug river: Not a magic cure - a deadly gene carrier
9. Of dolphins, crocodiles and tigers
10. Demography: not a dividend
11. Water and wells: why the taps run dry
12. Droughts and dams: engineering the Ganges
13. A Bollywood star: Ganga on film
14. Exotic river: the Ganges seen by foreigners
15. Storms and sandbanks: boat travel on the Ganges
16. Trade artery no more: Calcutta and Bengal
17. Mission impossible? How to clean the Ganges
18. Beautiful forest: Where Ganga meets the ocean
Bibliography
Notes
Index

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