I am Banaras….one of the oldest living cities of the world. I am symbol of true secularism….I embrace all religion & belief…..I am the land of Ganga, Kashi Vishwanath, Buddha, Kabir, Tulsi….Raja Harish Chandra, Munshi Prem Chandra, Mahamana, Bismillah Khan, Girja Devi, Kishan Maharaj and countless other luminaries….I am the seat of learning (sarva vidya ki rajdhani, meaning the capital of all knowledge)….I spread the message of love, peace and knowledge….I cleanse the heart and body and soul of those who come to me….I am Banaras. I am also known as Kashi, as in ancient time and Varanasi in present time.
Varanasi, also known as Kashi or Banaras, India’s most sacred and holiest of Indian cities, has witnessed tremendous change in modern times.
Home to one of the most sacred Jyotirlinga, where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Lingam or Pillar of Light, the city is a major tourist attraction for both Indians and foreigners. It is also the site of the highly prestigious and one of the largest residential universities of Asia, the Banaras Hindu University.
It comes as no surprise that this ancient city is struggling with the impact of high pollution levels, having become a dumping ground for the visitors and the city dwellers. Tired of the filth and garbage littering the streets and the holy Ganges, the residents of Varanasi started an initiative called “Jago Banaras” (Wake up Banaras).
“Jago Banaras” is the result of collaboration between Varanasi Vikas Samiti (VVS), a forum of local residents and different schools, social and voluntary organizations who are using various social media to raise awareness on the struggles faced by the city.
Armed with a large collection of photos, video recordings of statements of citizens and affidavits of people, the organization lobbied High Court to showcase the lack of commitment by the local authorities to clean Varanasi. Residents want the government and people to opt for more bio-degradable products and recycle responsibly.
Their message is pretty simple: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
People of Varanasi have grouped together as one to preserve the rich heritage of one of the oldest city in the world and to leave a cleaner environment for posterity!