When you visit the Jaipur City Palace, (now a museum), you would find two large silver water jugs/urns/vessels.
These are the largest single objects in silver anywhere in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. They were made by the silversmiths of Jaipur between the years 1894 and 1896. Maharaja Madho Singh II had to visit London in 1902 to attend the coronation of Edward VII and these two Silver urns carried 4000 litres of Gangajal (water from the river Ganges) on the ship for the Maharaja. Why?? Imperial England didn’t have water shortage at that time, infact there was no shortage of water anywhere in the world because the Earth had just 1.5 billion people in 1902.
These Gangajalis were carried on the ship so that the Maharaja, a devout Hindu, could drink Gangajal every day and not water from “any” other source. While the Maharaja could afford the silver urns, the average Indian in those times would carry water with them in smaller jugs. I distinctly remember an interesting incident that happened during my wedding. One of Krishnan’s uncles from Bangalore who attended our wedding, insisted on drinking only water drawn from a well in someone’s house. He refused to drink the water that the caterers brought with them, because he has never drunk any water except well water. While it may seem like an amusing quirk, our forefathers were smart folk – they knew water could be contaminated easily. They didn’t want to drink water whose source was not known.
While this hygienic practice got unfortunately coloured with caste/religion/untouchability etc, the modern world has continued this practice but at a huge cost to Mother Earth. The plastic bottles of water is the modern version of this idea and what an ecological disaster it has been ! If only we had maintained the wells and rivers free of contamination, we would still be a “water” rich Earth.
The Chinese virus is now forcing us to rethink our hygiene practices and hopefully we will emerge stronger on the other side of this pandemic. Praying for good sense to prevail.
#PotableWater #Covid19 #Gangajalis