Documentary Photographer Jai Thakur is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘Yamuna: Once proud, now reeling’. To see Jai ’s body of work, click on any image.
Yamuna: The Other Side
This project intends to document the current status of the river Yamuna from the Himalayas until it merges with the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. So far the status of this river in Delhi, Agra, and Mathura has been covered. Also, this story aims to highlight the importance of river water in human lives during festivals, agricultural processes, last rituals, daily life and its intangible connect. Overall, this body of work showcases the issues and the consequences we as a society will face due to climate change if this sacred river remains ignored. We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are intertwined hence, it is important to understand and value the coexistence of human life with nature.
Yamuna River, the second largest tributary of the Ganges remains deeply intertwined with the lives of millions of people spread across the states of Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. One of the most prominent rivers to flow through India, Yamuna originates in the Yamunotri Glaciers, far removed from any human settlement at a dizzying height of approximately 6400 meters near Bandarpunch peaks in the lower reaches of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand. Before it merges with the Ganges in Allahabad (Prayagraj), Yamuna travels a massive length of 1376 kilometers. The Yamuna along with the Ganges plays a major part in shaping the supremely fertile Ganges Basin which forms the backbone of agriculture in the northern part of India special in the Doab region. According to an estimate more than 60 million people in India rely on the Yamuna for freshwater daily.
Due to COVID-19 nationwide Lockdown when industrial activity halted the Yamuna River cleaned itself, allowing numerous flora and fauna to flock to its waters. One can now see fisherman’s net on green and bluish clearer Yamuna waters. A finding by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee shows that in Delhi, compared to the pre-lockdown days, the river is now cleaner by around 33%.
In a crucial fate, water plays the most essential component of life. However, rivers today, reeling under the intense pressure of fulfilling our increasing demands and Yamuna is no exception. The heavy usage of pesticides for better yields of agricultural products eventually mixes with river water makes it toxic in nature. Besides industry waste and sewage discharge adds to the toxicity. This is pretty much evident as it passes through the towns and cities such as Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. One looks at the river and it becomes evident that the health of the river today is fast deteriorating.
All images and text © Jai Thakur
By Jai Thakur
Jai ’s Previous Contribution To Edge Of Humanity Magazine
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