Ganga water is ‘Holy,’ it’s Scientifically Validated now.
Polluted Ganga still has ‘healing touch’.
Since ages, the water in the Ganges (Ganga) is thought to have ‘special power’ and healing properties. Hindus consider Ganges as sacred personification of Goddess Ganga; they see the waters as ‘Brahm Dravya’ or divine elixir. They believe that a dip in the holy river Ganga on certain days will purify them of their sins and facilitates Moksha or liberation. The belief of Ganga’s waters’ ‘special power’ was mostly seen as a myth until late September 2016 when, for the first time, microbiologists from Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) revealed that they have come across new Viruses in Ganga’s water that explain its healing properties.
About the Study on Ganga Water and Findings
In November 2014 federal Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry commissioned the study on Ganga’s water under the head of Minister Uma Bharati. For the first time, IMTECH found several Bacteriophages (type of virus that eats bacteria) in Ganga’s water, which keeps it non-putrefying (not allowing to decay). This explains the self-purifying properties of Ganga water.
According to Dr. Shanmugam Mayilraj, Senior Principal Scientist at the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh, the fresh water sediments from the holy river Ganges house several novel viruses, some of which are not explored and reported earlier. Shanmugam said his team identified 20-25 interesting viruses, whose strains can be used for treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) infections like Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium), Pneumonia (Klebsiella and Acinetobactor), Typhoid (Salmonella), Cholera (Vibrio), Diarrhoea (Aeromonoas), Dysentery (Shigella), Meningitis (Cronobacter) etc. Notably, scientists around the world were always baffled by the antiseptic properties of Ganga’s waters. In fact, a British physician E Hanbury Hankin observed in 1896 that Cholera microbes died within three hours in Ganga’s water, but thrived in distilled water.
For further study, the IMTECH team collected samples from the Haridwar to Varanasi stretch of the Ganges, which is highly polluted. For a comparative study, they would also collect water samples from Yamuna and Narmada rivers to test. The project to examine the Ganga waters also comprises of other scientific organizations in Lucknow, the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, National Environment Engineering Research Institute co-ordinating lab, National Botanical Research Institute and Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. A consolidated report of all the Labs involved in the study shall be submitted to the government of India by December 2016.
Considering the scientific validation of healing properties of Ganga’s waters, it is the responsibility of the people and the governmental organizations in India not to pollute the healthy waters and to keep it clean and useful.