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The Not So Beautiful Ganges River  
User currently offlineZentraedi From Japan, joined Jun 2007, 659 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5542 times:

Well, this article has been making the rounds online :

WARNING: GRAPHIC, POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictu...tos-chinese-netizen-reactions.html

Just looking at that puts the whole Commonwealth Games Fiasco into perspective.

Many of those pics are way beyond the pale, but having been to India in the past, sadly much of it doesn't surprise me. Some people claim that level of poor sanitation is caused simply by poverty. I'd question that as I've much more livable and sanitary conditions across parts of Africa, which are much poorer.

"It's their culture" is another excuse might be used to explain this, but I don't find that acceptable. Personally I find this on a level way beyond anything permissible in the rest of the modern world. Am I too prudish and western? How do some of you feel?

42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinegeekydude From China, joined Apr 2004, 401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5518 times:

Quoting Zentraedi (Thread starter):
WARNING: GRAPHIC, POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES

I am speechless.



FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8494 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5504 times:

The power of photojournalism. A truly sad situation.

User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3171 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5503 times:

Jeez - this was disturbing - I wish the govt would do something to ensure that the bodies are fully burnt before being dumped into the Ganges!


Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39478 posts, RR: 75
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5504 times:

Quoting Zentraedi (Thread starter):
WARNING: GRAPHIC, POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictu....html

I'm speechless.

Is this a prime example of renewable resources, sustainable living and not leaving a carbon footprint........?



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8494 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5493 times:

Quoting Nimish (Reply 3):
I wish the govt would do something to ensure that the bodies are fully burnt before being dumped into the Ganges!

It takes a lot of energy to fully cremate a human body. It's quite difficult to do without adding pressure to increase the heat.


User currently offlineAcheron From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 1529 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5485 times:

I think I won't be going to India for a while.

I'm aware every country has its very, very nasty side be it high murder rates, uncontrolled poverty, etc. ...but seriously...this is just a wee bit too much for me.


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 7951 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5458 times:

Birds gnawing on entrails bursting forth from a badly bloated woman's abdomen...how lovely.

Natural processes are a bitch, eh?



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineSpringbok747 From Australia, joined Nov 2004, 4387 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5447 times:

Absolutely disgusting. Can't imagine the kinds of diseases those people bathing in that filth will get.


אני תומך בישראל
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6641 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5415 times:

Eek that has put me right off wanting to visit India.

User currently offlineoly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6604 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5392 times:

It would seem that poverty is the cause of so many bodies.

Sometimes, if a family cannot afford firewood for cremation, a half-burned corpse is thrown into the water. A verse from the Mahabharata promises, "If only the bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honoured, in heaven."

http://www.zeenews.com/news598802.html#

(page 2)



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6265 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5317 times:

Quoting Acheron (Reply 6):
I think I won't be going to India for a while.

The thing about India is, more than anywhere else in the world that I have ever been, it is a land of DEEP contrasts. Lots of new money next to some of the most incredible poverty on the planet. Some absolutely beautiful natural (and artificial) wonders next to...well, the things in these pictures. I have seen a body floating in the Ganges before...but I have also seen the beauty of India's natural wonders. It is still someplace I consider myself privileged to have visited, and continue to visit, but...it is just a very, very, very contrasted nation.


User currently offlinegosimeon From Ireland, joined Jan 2008, 663 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5286 times:

Quoting oly720man (Reply 10):
It would seem that poverty is the cause of so many bodies.

Sometimes, if a family cannot afford firewood for cremation, a half-burned corpse is thrown into the water. A verse from the Mahabharata promises, "If only the bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honoured, in heaven."

http://www.zeenews.com/news598802.html#

Wow. It's amazing how religious ritual can be so messed up.


Shocking photos. In a way, perhaps it shows a comfort (or acceptance) with death we cannot understand?

Horrible. I guess when you throw bodies in a river, this is always going to be the result.


User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4869 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5168 times:

Quoting geekydude (Reply 1):
I am speechless.

You better be or you know who will be here to flame you  

The Ganges is the holiest of rivers and people bring bottles of Ganges holy water to sprinkle on stuff. Even if you don't cremate on the banks, disbursing ashes in the waters is considered good for the journey to the hereafter.

India, unfortunately, is one of the world's dirtiest countries. Homes are generally kept very clean, but everything is dumped outside. If you live there, your brain and eyes shut it out, and you watch what you step on. If you been away for while, your defenses are down and you end up dazed, muttering "The horror, the horror...".

Forget the F-16s, what the country needs is a million public toilets with public cleanliness enforced at the end of a gun.

China used to be a filthy place too in the rural areas, my Chinese friends tell me. I presume it has become a lot cleaner with prosperity, as it citizens take well to discipline.


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8875 posts, RR: 40
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5153 times:

Was that a skull with eyeballs rolled back in it?   

All I can hope for is that India continue its reforms and this will sooner rather than later be history.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineEmirates773ER From Pakistan, joined Jun 2005, 1448 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5109 times:

Quoting comorin (Reply 13):
The Ganges is the holiest of rivers and people bring bottles of Ganges holy water to sprinkle on stuff. Even if you don't cremate on the banks, disbursing ashes in the waters is considered good for the journey to the hereafter.

How can a sane person living in the west bring back a bottle of that river is beyond me.



The Truth is Out There ---- Face It!!!!!
User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4869 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5067 times:

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 14):
All I can hope for is that India continue its reforms and this will sooner rather than later be history.

There are no grass roots social reformers left in India AFAIK. The prevailing thinking is that get 'rich quick' trickles down and solves all problems, and China seems to be the example.

An interesting parallel in NYC is when the subway cars were old and dingy, they were also dirty. When they were replaced with new shiny cars, people were careful to keep them clean.

In the West too, not too long ago, there was filth and open sewers everywhere (think Dickens' London). Rising prosperity after the Industrial Revolution brought cleanliness and sanitation. Hopefully this will happen in India too.


User currently onlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2026 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5058 times:

I visited Varanasi this March and I can definitely say it was one of the most interesting places I visited in India but also definitely the most vile. I could not believe that people bathed in that cauldron of filth and disease called the Ganges river. You could not take two steps without stepping in cow dung or seeing animal and human remains. All that said the Ghats are very unique and you def. know that you are in India. BTW, taking pictures on the burning ghats is considered very rude.

User currently offlinegeekydude From China, joined Apr 2004, 401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4997 times:

Quoting comorin (Reply 13):
You better be or you know who will be here to flame you

If flaming solves problems, then bring on the flame!  

Seriously though, I was just taken aback at how funerals are performed differently in different places. In China, for instance, most bodies are cremated and ashes put into an urn or box. This way there is less pressure to covert land into large cemeteries. Urbanization and population growth have already been taking a toll on the total acreage of arable land. Giving everyone a traditional coffin burial is just too impractical. Of course, there are exceptions made to ethnic minorities whose traditions or religious beliefs go against body cremation. Chinese Muslims can bury the dead the traditional way in a casket without cremating the body. The Tibetans, for instance, also perform their own unique way of burial. The so-called Tibetan Heavenly Funeral is done such a way that basically the body is cut to pieces, mixed with flour , and then fed to the vultures. The Tibetans believe that this way the dead can be taken to heaven by the vultures. To say that someone is to be buried underground is an big insult to them. Cremation is also performed in Tibet, but that's usually reserved to the high clergies.

Quoting Emirates773ER (Reply 15):
How can a sane person living in the west bring back a bottle of that river is beyond me.

Mystic oriental stuff appeals to certain people, that's all I can say, even though it's all BS if you allow me quote Penn and Teller.

Quoting comorin (Reply 16):
In the West too, not too long ago, there was filth and open sewers everywhere (think Dickens' London). Rising prosperity after the Industrial Revolution brought cleanliness and sanitation. Hopefully this will happen in India too.

There's a concept called the Environmental Kutznets Curve, which says that the environment quality of a country does not observe a linear relationship with the country's economic output. When you're in abject poverty, all you care is to have enough food and shelter. Therefore, development from this state is usual accompanied by a deterioration of the environment as the country moves from subsistence to industrialization which is typically very polluting in nature. Only when the quality of life is high enough and there's no imminent danger of starvation or diseases that people start to worry about the environment. As the living standard further improves, they will adopt more environmentally friendly but more expensive production techniques or simply shift dirty sectors to a foreign country.

So basically, yes, it's hopeful that a dirty country can have improved quality of the environment down the road, but that typically won't happen unless people's living standard is already substantially higher than the level under abject poverty. It will take time, and sometimes a long one.



FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 19, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4954 times:

Quoting comorin (Reply 13):
Forget the F-16s, what the country needs is a million public toilets with public cleanliness enforced at the end of a gun.

There used to be a story about Gandhi and Kruschev basically towards that point.

India certainly does have problems. But if you can stay away from the sort of scenes in that link and away from the crippled beggars (even more difficult) India does have a great many positives. Trouble is the even greater number of people and a rather strange set of beliefs are crowding in on the good parts.

Makes you wonder if the 72 virgins method of getting to heaven might not be relatively harmless by comparison?????


User currently offlinelewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3592 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4930 times:

Showed this to my friend who has been there. He told me that it is sort of like that but because this is a collection of images probably over a long period of time, it looks worse than it is. Still, he showed me pics of kids with Polio so severe that their knees would bend on the wrong side and to move they had to crawl or walk on all fours. They were told that although most of the diseases can be avoided through vaccination that is being offered, many people opt to get sick rather than getting immunized so as to help them with their begging, especially true for children. I am not sure if they also do it for religious reasons, the worse your time is in this life the better it will be after you die or something?

Quoting geekydude (Reply 18):
Only when the quality of life is high enough and there's no imminent danger of starvation or diseases that people start to worry about the environment.

Without taking care of the environment around you there is no way you can avoid imminent danger from disease.

[Edited 2010-10-29 20:19:30]

User currently offlinegeekydude From China, joined Apr 2004, 401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4894 times:

Quoting lewis (Reply 21):
Without taking care of the environment around you there is no way you can avoid imminent danger from disease.

I was referring to mainly chronic diseases related to air and water pollution and malnutrition that do not kill you outright, at least not within a short time frame.

But I agree with you as well.



FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 18699 posts, RR: 58
Reply 22, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4857 times:

Quoting lewis (Reply 21):
They were told that although most of the diseases can be avoided through vaccination that is being offered, many people opt to get sick rather than getting immunized so as to help them with their begging, especially true for children. I am not sure if they also do it for religious reasons, the worse your time is in this life the better it will be after you die or something?

There are also a lot of Muslim Imams preaching that polio vaccination is a Western plot to sterilize kids.


User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6641 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4830 times:

I once had a discussion with one of my Indian colleagues about the squalor in India, she always denied it, she was always going on about how wonderful and modern India is, yesterday I showed her these photos, she went to the toilet and vomited.

I guess when you are high caste and come form a wealthy family you just don't notice the little people and the filth.


User currently offlinebabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4839 times:

Jeez, that is the most sickening thing I have seen in the last 20 years. That's India off my desirable destination list.

I wonder was it like that when the British were looking after it?


25 Braybuddy : More disturbing than the bodies of corpses floating in the Ganges is the sight of mutilated children, some of them now adults, begging for a living. W
26 RJAF : This is too much to bear! The Indian government has to obviously do something here and do it fast! I remember seeing 'Visit India' commercials on CNN
27 Aaron747 : What is with the histrionics here? It is shocking, yes, but this is a fact of life for people around the world, and not just in India. Squalor and co
28 Post contains images babybus : Could you name some more countries like that, where corpses abound? I just want to put them on my avoid list too. I've been to some really poor place
29 Aesma : It's not culture and poverty but both at the same time. And I don't think it should be entirely changed, however installing modern crematoriums along
30 Post contains links NoUFO : You don't need to put India as a whole on your avoid-list. This is the situation in Varanasi first and foremost (to a lesser extend in other cities a
31 JL418 : Well, corpses floating in the Ganges aren't such a shocking news to me. Of course, seeing them is something different from hearing about it. What I wa
32 MaverickM11 : Isn't it a pretty basic tenet that you don't sh!t where you eat, or bathe? I'm not trying to be coarse, but it seems like that would solve a lot of t
33 OA412 : No, it's a prime example of poverty and overcrowding gone haywire. Sure was. Scary stuff. I believe that another poster is right in that because this
34 comorin : Guys, its not that bad. This is sensationalist Mondo Cane stuff. Its a collection of images over the years. There is still a lot of natural beauty in
35 Superfly : I don't see any SUVs or McDonald's. These people aren't leaving a carbon footprint. Looks like an ecotopia to me.....
36 Post contains images Zentraedi :
37 Superfly : That's not in the same part of India. Also, that McDonald's doesn't have the evil Happy Meal with toys that caters to children. Does that McDonald's
38 Post contains links Springbok747 : That doesn't look like India..more like Pakistan. But yes, India does have McDonalds.. http://www.mcdonaldsindia.com/
39 KiwiRob : It like the coke bottling plant some friends of mine saw, they were fittling the bottles with coke (like) syrup then topping them off with tap water a
40 Superfly : What's so gross about that?
41 Zentraedi : Tap water in India will give you diarrhea. That's why it's often suggested that you only drink soft drinks or beer since they are supposed to have us
42 Superfly : I didn't know he was talking about India. In that case, yes that is gross.
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