I would like begin the celebration of Godavari Day with a quote from Sunil Vaidyanathan and Shayoni Mitra in a pictorial compilation titled Rivers of India (2011).
“While most Indian Rivers are linked with Hinduism, the Godavari represents the secular face of India” (2011:87).
The authors, here, are referring to multi-religious associations of Godavari like, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so forth. To continue the secular portrayal of Godavari, we at ‘Reconnecting with Godavari’ are calling the avtaran diwas of Godavari, as per Puranic references, as ‘Godavari Day’. Because we aim to inculcate a sense of belongingness towards Godavari within every community living along the banks of the Godavari. The focus is to establish a harmonious relationship between humans and rivers. Thus, we are adopting this profane standpoint to attain a holistic public participation.
Since, past 10 days, we have explored several facets of our interactions with a river. Today, I take the opportunity of ‘Godavari Day’ to illustrate the objective of ‘Reconnecting with Godavari’ and the activities, which have evolved till now.
‘Reconnecting with Godavari’ is a platform build to initiate a dialogue between multiple stakeholders, ranging from bureaucrats, politicians, academicians, journalists, activists, and several other sections of the city population, who are engaged with Godavari (in any form).
We have conceptualized broadly four major activities under ‘Reconnecting with Godavari’ to initiate citizen engagement and participation, which act as an impetus for evolution of sub-set of activities:
‘Goda Parikrama’ (Circumambulation of the Godavari):
This happens every second Sunday of the month, along the banks of the Godavari. Every walk is designed with a focus on a particular aspect along the Godavari. This walk has dual motive – firstly, it attempts to re-connect the city populations with their river, and secondly, the walk focusses on identifying, understanding, and critically analyzing the problem areas along the river.
Why we are calling it a Parikrama? Parikrama is act of circumambulation about something, more often the word is utilized for referring to pradakshina in Hinduism. However, the act of circumambulation is present in Budhhism, Sikhism, Islam (similar to ritual of tawaf), etc.
‘Godavarishi Gappa-Tappa’ (Let us interact with Godavari):
This happens monthly (exact dates to be decided on a monthly basis), and sometimes this happens with Goda Parikarma at along Godavari Ghat in Nashik. The idea is to make this discussion forum a stimulus to create a continuous dialogue, amongst the city population, regarding several issues of Godavari. We hope that series of these brainstorming sessions will eventually give rise series of public projects or initiatives along the river.
Godavari Week and Godavari Day:
This is an annual activity, during which every year we will design different activities depending on the needs of Godavari at that particular time.
This is an online series of interactive sessions with various individuals like researchers, explorers, activists, experts, bureaucrats, etc. who are engaged with Godavari.
We would like to end the series of articles, with a hope that through ‘Reconnecting with Godavari’ we will be able to tie the long-lost threads of affection and respect towards Godavari.