While foreigners gringe, Hindus consider Ganga, the Ganges River, the elixir of life, capable of bringing purity to the living and salvation to the dead. While the rituals of the devouts attract, the ashes of the dead, garbage from open drains, and leftovers from religious ceremonies repulse. The Ganga is dangerously polluted, but Hindus believe it to be sacred--able to cure disease, absolve sins, and confer immortality.
I remember a story told to me by an Indian friend. An acquaintance of hers used to work in an NGO (non-governmental organization), specializing in assistance to poverty-stricken area. On a particular trip to a small village, she was offered water from the Ganges River...Read More