To mark World Rivers Day, a week-long festival ‘Muthai’ — dedicated to River Mutha —will be organised in the city by Jeevitnadi, a group of individuals working for the revival of Mula-Mutha river.
Aditi Deodhar, chief co-ordinators of the group, said that although the World Rivers Day falls on September 27, owing to Anant Chaturdashi and Ganesh visarjan around the same time, the group has decided to hold the festival from October 2 to 8.
The festival will feature various activities including a photo-walk along the banks of Mutha, a workshop with renowned artist Milind Mullick on Mutha banks, an exhibition that will explore history of Mutha and the transformations it went through over the years, river walk and a play to spread awareness about the river.
Talking about the objective of festival, Deodhar says, “People living in urban cities have lost touch with the rivers. We do not realise that rivers are a part of our ecosystem. Apart from providing water, they recharge aquifers, absorb floods, preserve fertility of soil, form highly fertile delta regions, acts as habitat for a variety of flora and fauna, support livelihood of local communities and so on.”
Deodhar adds that Jeevitnadi realised that apart from restoring and conserving Mula-Mutha river, there is also a need to spread awareness about the river and hence conceived the idea of ‘Muthai’.
Sharing details about Jeevitnadi and its history, Deodhar says that most of the members in the group are former students of noted environmentalist and ornithologist late Prakash Gole from Ecological Society.
The idea of the group, she says, was born out of a small incident. “About 10 years ago, one of our friends Niranjan Upasani had promised his son that they would go for a swim in Mula-Mutha River on his 10th birthday. Though his son turned 10 last year, he could not go ahead with his promise. In the last one decade, the river has gradually turned from good to bad to worse,” she says, adding that it struck a chord with the Ecological Society group.
The objective of Jeevitnadi is two-fold – a short-term activity of assessing current status of the river and preparing a restoration and management plan, and a long-term activity of promoting chemical-free lifestyle. “To keep the river healthy and clean is the shared responsibility of the authorities and citizens. Unless we do our part, putting blame on authorities is plain escapism,” adds Deodhar.