Goa’s River Mhadei is not just a mere source of fresh water but a lifeline for its people and ecosystem. In the wake of the ongoing attempts to divert the river’s water by neighbouring Karnataka, the fate of Goa’s Mhadei remains uncertain.
In response to this threat posed to Goa’s beloved river, the Earthivist Collective in association with the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) and the Save Mhadei Save Goa Front is calling on Mhadei's children to become her guardians (rakhondar).
A community engagement festival called Mhadei Amchi Mai, celebrating the intrinsic and critical relation between the river, the land and its people, will be held May 20, 2023, at 4 pm. A human prayer chain will be formed along the banks of the river, extending from the end of Miramar Beach to the Santa Monica Jetty in Panaji, a distance of 7 km.
This festival aims at bringing concerned people together to pray for the well-being of the river and to raise awareness about the importance of preserving its vital freshwater and biodiversity.
Attendees are required to wear clothes with white and blue colour – representing the shades of the river – and carry a blue or white scarf along. Nearly 7000 persons are expected to participate in the human chain.
Organisers have also urged individuals from the creative community – musicians, dancers, creative storytellers and artists to join the creative celebration by performing along the human chain site.
Eminent personalities Dr Oscar Rebello, Fr Bolmax Pereira, Hema Sardesai, Patricia Pinto, Prof Dr Isabel Santa Rita Vaz, Claude Alvares, Norma Alvares, Rajendra Kerkar and Pournima Kerkar are to join the movement.
Groups like Act for Goa, UrbanSketchers Goa, Plantwalk Goa, Goa Bird Conservation Network, Sunday Evening Quiz Club and That Book Store have also come on board to participate in the festival.
The Mhadei not only nurtures the people of Goa but also carries their history and soul in its rippling waters. It nourishes immense biodiversity across the land, carrying vital water and nutrients to the floodplains and agricultural lands and the potable water that keeps people alive.
Goan environmentalists and conservationists are spreading awareness regarding the impact of the diversion. They believe that with Goans coming together in solidarity, Goa is enough to serve and protect mai Mhadei.
The river doesn’t only quench the thirst and provide nourishment, but for many, like noted environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar, it has been instrumental in shaping the identity and culture of Goa.
“Why can’t we let nature be?” questions Goa Foundation’s Claude Alvares, who feels not just Goa, but awareness about a planned destruction of a great river like Mhadei needs to be spread throughout the country.
Altering the course and headwaters of the river, combined with climate change, dams and pollution, would lead to not just water scarcity and food insecurity, but loss of life and livelihood, directly affecting six of the twelve talukas of Goa.
By working together, Mhadei's children can ensure that the river continues to be a source of life, history and soul for generations to come. Together a difference can be made and a river can be saved.
WHEN: May 20, 2023
TIME: 4 pm
DRESS CODE: White and blue colour clothing along with a blue or white scarf.
WHERE: From Miramar Beach to Santa Monica Jetty in Panjim.