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Saraswathi river and Irfan Habib


One set of Saraswati enthusiasts wants to lead the river to ancient Prayag, while the other would like it to flow parallel to the Indus.

On March 31, 2015, The Hindu carried a report of a plan by the Haryana government to recreate the Saraswati river, apparently because the present river of the name Sarsuti does not possess features expected of what is presumed to have been a great river of sacred lore. At the place officially determined to be the site of origin of the stream, which falls in Haryana, extensive “excavation” is being undertaken to locate the exact spot where the river was formed. Why excavation is necessary for this purpose is not clear: perhaps, the wielding of spades is expected to lead to a natural spring. In case this does not happen, there is a Plan B. “Two or three tube wells” will be dug to create an official spring. Should this not be sufficient to form even a rivulet, let alone a majestic river, there is a convenient ‘drain’ nearby, which would be diverted into the artificial channel. The official mind has apparently overlooked the fact that the actual source of the holy river would then shift from the present site in Haryana to the source of the drain, which might well be situated in some nullah coming down from Himachal Pradesh and, by this unfortunate circumstance, shift the source of the river Saraswati to a place outside Haryana.